When Tyres & Accessories spoke to Starco at last year’s Reifen trade show in Germany, it was apparent from the products the Danish company had on display that it was moving away from its traditional role as solely a tyre wholesaler to also being a manufacturer of wheels and assemblies with an increasing focus on specialty wheels. Starco has now broadened its activities in this direction with the release of a further development of its Flex range – the Flex lite.
A HiQ fast fit manager has revealed his frustration at the preponderance of acronyms in the automotive industry – a state of affairs he describes as “infuriating”. Stuart Carr says he has been driven to distraction by the creeping usage of perplexing acronyms in manufacturers’ manuals. Carr said: “I actually enjoy picking out a manual from the glove box and having a read through, but upon recent inspection I stumbled across reams of unnecessary jargon.
Rob Northcott, head programmer at fast fit computer specialists Team Systems, has completed the demanding 50 mile Dartmoor Bicycle Challenge 2011 on a unicycle as part of a fund raising campaign for Cancer Research to support colleague Matt Bateman who is currently seriously ill with Hodgkin’s Lymphona.
The prevalence of motorsport and rally involvement amongst tyre manufacturers is testament to its effectiveness as a brand promotion tool. Yet most events, in Europe at least, take place in the summer months, and maintaining a profile through motorsport in the colder part of the year requires a measure of creative thinking. Kumho, through its German operation, did just that and kept its name on the lips of European petrolheads during the winter of 2010/11 through its sponsorship of the ‘Drift & Drive’ rally school in Finland.
Sibur-Russian Tyres reports it has begun OEM shipments of Cordiant brand tyres to the Volkswagen plant in Kaluga, some 100 miles southwest of Moscow. The tyres will be fitted as original equipment on Polo saloons built at the factory, with the first Cordiant equipped cars rolling off the production line in June. The Russian tyre maker anticipates delivering up to 100,000 Cordiant tyres for the Polo and other Volkswagen Group cars by the end of the year.
Management at Apollo Tyres are considering the purchase of rubber plantations as a potential means of countering ever increasing rubber prices. On May 27, the tyre maker’s vice-chairman and managing director Neeraj Kanwar told Indian publication The Economic Times that “as far as buying rubber plantations, or for that matter any kind of backward integration, is concerned, we are always open to possibilities depending upon the need of the hour.”
Continental’s Passenger and Light Truck Tire (PLT) division is gearing up for a round of management musical chairs: On July 1, head of worldwide Research & Development PLT, Christian Kötz, takes over as head of PLT Replacement EMEA, a slot temporarily filled by Nikolai Setzer, head of the Passenger and Light Truck Tire division. The position previously held by Kötz will be taken on by David O’Donnell; to take up this Germany-based role O’Donnell will leave the United States, where he is currently oversees Key Account Management The Americas for PLT’s OE business. And, as previously announced, Continental’s current head of Mergers and Acquisitions activities, Dr. Jochen Etzel, takes charge of the PLT business unit Replacement The Americas, also on July 1, 2011. He will be based in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Etzel succeeds Matthias Schönberg, who will be taking on a new assignment within the Rubber Group by taking over the helm of ContiTech Fluid GmbH.
Next year’s edition of the Michelin Guide Britain & Ireland will arrive early. Michelin states that to bring the guide’s release date into line with its other Michelin country and city guides (with the exception of France), instead of the usual launch date during the third week of January the 2012 guide will be launched on October 6, 2011. A second given reason for the earlier release is that the guide will now be available in time for the Christmas market – something that has long been requested.
Team Toyo has launched a promotional range of downloadable computer wallpapers, depicting off-road star Robby Gordon; Toyo-sponsored UFC lightweight, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis; Toyo models and import racing. A total of six wallpapers, designed for use on desktop computers and a range of portable devices, are available for download on the company’s website and from its Facebook page.
Pirelli is at the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend with its new supersoft tyre, the PZero Red, which the company says are designed to be ideally suited to the tight and twisty streets of the principality. The iconic Monaco street circuit is 3,340 metres long, and the PZero Red is designed to offer increased grip over the slippery asphalt, which is open to normal road traffic in the evenings. The evolution of the track is therefore difficult to predict, and with frequent heavy use of brakes, such as in the first corner, Sainte Devote, where cars will lose 160kph in 100 metres. The continuous heavy use of the brakes in Monaco generates extremely high temperatures which are also felt in the tyres, increasing the stress caused by heat on the tyre as a whole.
With rain showers forecast across much of the UK this coming Spring Bank Holiday weekend, tyre safety organisation TyreSafe is encouraging drivers to check the condition of their tyres before setting off. Drivers should ensure that their tyres have adequate tread depth to grip potentially slippery road surfaces and are properly inflated to carry any additional loads such as luggage or extra passengers.
At last week’s Challenge Bibendum in Berlin, Michelin announced its intention to partner with the City on the Move Institute (IVM). Launched by PSA Peugeot Citroën in June 2000, IVM is an organisation that seeks to bring forth innovative solutions for urban mobility and joins various parties together to work on related projects. The organisation seeks partnerships with companies capable of playing a decisive role in improving the quality of future urban mobility, and in this capacity Michelin and IVM will exchange ideas and discuss challenges and solutions facing sustainable mobility, an area of common interest to both.
Following the approval of its acquisition by Itochu Corporation, investment in new Kwik-Fit outlets is continuing with plans to open ten new centres this year and a similar number in 2012. Confirmed centre openings this year are in Farnham, Heywood and Scunthorpe, with other locations expected to be revealed over the coming months. These new sites add to those opened in recent months in Brentford, Brierley Hill, Bury St Edmunds, Charlton, Ipswich, Luton, Newport Pagnell, Rugeley, Thetford and Walsall. Prior to the launch of the latest centre investment programme, Kwik-Fit operated a 669-centre network, supported by a mobile fleet of more than 200 vehicles.
Titan International has announced the resignation of its vice-president of Sales and Marketing, Jeff Vasichek, effective May 31. Vasichek joined Titan in 2005 when the company purchased Goodyear’s North American agricultural tyre business. Commenting on Vasichek’s departure, Titan International chairman and CEO Maurice Taylor said “Jeff has been with Titan as we have grown in business, and everyone at Titan wishes Jeff all the best in his next venture. He will be a great asset for his next employer.”
Those of you happy to throw away £300 a year rejoice – according to research by Continental Tyres, there’s a good chance you’re doing this already courtesy of your driving style. Over the driving lifetime of a motorist this adds up to the equivalent of £18,000 (at today’s fuel prices), enough buy a new car. Across Britain, more than £1 billion a year is squandered through uneconomical driving. But Continental believes this needn’t be the case.