HiQ has released a statement arguing for increased attention to be paid to air conditioning systems, following a 15 per cent increase in air-con related problems seen at HiQ branches. The seven out of 10 motorists that HiQ says fail to service their air-con systems regularly – some not at all – could experience decreased levels of fuel efficiency and even asthma-related health problems. The network’s fast fit manager Stuart Carr said that over time, air-con gas gradually depletes which then impacts upon fuel efficiency levels because the engine has to work harder.
An area of focus for UK company OTR since its integration into the Kal Tire group is the further development of the ‘fendering’ process for its tyres. As Wayne Cornell, Kal Tire’s UK & Africa manufacturing manager explains, “the sidewall of a tyre is a large exposed area and, at the same time, is the thinnest part of the tyre. In harsh working environments this area is more susceptible to damage as the sidewall makes contact with objects – so the logical solution has always been to protect the sidewall i.e. fendering.”
Richard J. Kramer, chairman and chief executive officer of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, says he is “very pleased” with the tyre maker’s “outstanding second quarter results.” Goodyear’s figures for the three months to the end of June, which were released on July 28, show a 24 per cent increase in sales to US$5.6 billion, despite a two per cent decline in unit sales. The results, Kramer added, “represent another step on the path toward our 2013 targets. They present confirmation that our strategies are right and that they are working.”
Michelin has released its first half financial results, showing stable operating income of €971 million for a 9.6 per cent operating margin, with net sales up 21 per cent. The Group says the figures are in line with its corporate “road map”, revising its full year sales volumes objectives upwards – after 12.6 per cent market growth in the first half – and reconfirming its profitability estimates. The Group suggests market growth should accelerate in line with long-term trends by the end of the year, targeting an 8 per cent growth in full-year sales volumes.
As Pirelli observed in the July 2011 edition of ‘Truck’, the tyre maker’s in-house magazine for the commercial vehicle sector, the winter of 2010-11 was one of the severest in recent memory. The UK experienced snowfalls as early as November, it noted, causing such traffic disruptions that the Automobile Association describes the period as the most active in its 100-year history – the motoring association answered 200,000 calls for assistance on November 29 alone. In December the lowest temperatures since 1890 were reached.
A big surprise in this category, with none of last year's finalists making it through to the shortlist. In the past the finalists have tended to be waste collection companies or retreaders and this year we have one of each – Vellco Tyre Control and Bandvulc Tyres. The remaining three are all new tyre manufacturers: Continental, Michelin (both picking up their third nominations in this year's TAFF Awards) and Yokohama HPT.
Continental is raising its outlook for 2011, based on what it called “a very successful first half-year” that included double-digit growth rates for sales and EBIT. “We had previously forecast sales of more than 28.5 billion euros, but we are now expecting at least 29.5 billion euros. We are also targeting an adjusted EBIT margin of around 10 per cent, slightly more than the good 2010 figure of 9.7 per cent,” said Continental executive board chairman Dr. Elmar Degenhart on Friday 29 July on publishing figures for the first half of the year.
Within four weeks of the company’s launch, Traxx Tyres secured new premises 15 minutes from London for the business’ head office. Walk in through the shining polished glass doors and you are greeted by the smell of new carpets and freshly unwrapped furniture. However, the first thing you notice is that this is not simply the administration department of a regional wholesaler, but rather the suite of ground floor offices and board rooms tell you that this operation is set up to be the nerve centre of a business with national aspirations. With the company having such impressive aspirations, Tyres & Accessories visited the Bracknell headquarters (Maxx House) to find out more about Traxx’s short history, recent achievements and plan for the future.
Avon has announced that three cars will race on its tyres in this year’s Spa 24 Hours, tripling the brand’s presence. One of three McLaren MP4-12C GT3 race cars will compete on the manufacturer’s tyres, as well as an independent Aston Martin DBRS9 and a Mercedes SLS. Considering its heritage as a motorsport brand, it comes as something of a surprise that last year’s Spa 24 Hours was its debut. Then, the Trackspeed Racing Porsche 997 RSR entry suffered mechanical problems after a competitive start, finishing in eleventh place. This year Avon hopes to prove the ability of its rubber over the entire duration.
Russian corporation Tatneft, which operates the Nizhnekamsk Solid Steel Chord Tire Factory, reports that a delegation of representatives from Continental AG and Daimler AG visited the company in mid-July with a view to selecting the tyre maker as an original equipment supplier for its Mercedes-Benz Trucks Vostok joint-venture facility. The delegation toured the Nizhnekamsk factory in Tatarstan and viewed the technologies and production processes in use.
The Warren County tyre plant operated by Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations has received the highest health and safety award given out by health authorities in its home state; on July 27 the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) unit honoured the plant with its Volunteer STAR (Safety Through Accountability and Recognition) award.
The British Drift Championship’s third round at the Teesside Autodrome saw two major drifting tyre brands competing for top spots in the championship standings. Title sponsors of the series Maxxis supported third-placed drifter Paul Smith, moving him up to fifth in the Super Professional Championship, while the Falken brand supported Matt Carter claimed his third consecutive second place podium position to maintain his lead at the top, and Team Green Falken’s domination of the Team Championship.
Yokohama’s commitment to motorsport in its many different forms has been illustrated in a busy July schedule that included touring cars, rallying and endurance racing. The brand is the official supplier to the FIA World Touring Car Championship, which visited Donington on 16-17 July for its UK leg. Yokohama supplied drivers at the recent FIA European Touring Car Cup in Salzburg, Austria, on 23-24 July, where Fabrizio Giovanardi clinched the title with a victory and a second-place finish in the Austrian rain.
Pirelli test driver Lucas di Grassi suggests the Hungarian Grand Prix could be different in character to previous seasons, with the manufacturer’s rubber once again central to the race’s result. The Hungaroring is the slowest permanent circuit on the Formula One calendar – with full throttle applied for only about 10 seconds per lap – and the action for this Hungarian Grand Prix is complicated by the risk of rain, which is forecast intermittently for the rest of the weekend. The track has been lightly modified from last year, with the gravel traps on turns three, eight and nine replaced by run-off asphalt, in the interests of safety. Pirelli anticipates a challenging race for Formula One’s drivers, and for the tyres as the drivers seek to gain advantage. The supplier suggests the chicane at turns six and seven will result in a racing line involving some kerbing, adding stress to the tyres, and the penultimate turn 13, where drivers will rely on the tyre compound to work as hard as possible in order first to pull the car through the corner and then guarantee good traction out of it, with limited downforce available.
This award category is sponsored by this magazine and in the past has showcased a series of creative and effective advertising campaigns, across a variety of media. Four of the finalists – Continental, Hankook, Michelin and Pirelli – are also nominees in the 'Tyre Manufacturer' category and they are joined this year by newcomer Infinity Tyres Europe. Winners for the past two years have been Continental – can they maintain their high standard?