Charles English, managing director/owner of Alba Tyres in Leeds, will take part in the ‘Only Fools Jump In’ team charity skydive on 1 April to raise a total of £20,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA). Funds raised will support people suffering from MNDA in the Yorkshire area and ongoing research; English’s support of the charity is motivated in part by his godson, James’s loss of his father-in-law to the disease last year. To make a donation, go to https://www.justgiving.com/teams/onlyfoolsjumpin and click on Charles English.
Maxxis has launched what it calls an “unprecedented” reward scheme for UK motorsport drivers, making bonus prize money available for any Maxxis-shod podium finish in the 2012 four-wheel race season. Including every format on four wheels except for karting, Maxxis believes the scheme underlines its commitment to the roots of motorsport with a season of cash injections.
Pirelli has appointed Spain’s Jaime Alguersuari and Brazilian, Lucas di Grassi as its test drivers for the 2012 season. Their joint appointment marks the first time Pirelli will have two permanent Formula One test drivers; di Grassi carried out the role single-handedly last year, and Pirelli says the addition of Alguersuari will give the company broader knowledge of the most current generation of Formula One machinery. The latter driver made seven top-10 finishes in 2011 for the Toro Rosso team, while di Grassi started 18 races for Virgin Racing in 2010.
Accredited Michelin Exelagri dealers in the UK and Ireland will now be able to secure prestigious Michelin Certified Centre (MCC) status, as the manufacturer launches a new dealer programme for agricultural tyres. Michelin is introducing the new certification scheme across Europe to recognise exceptionally high standards of customer service and expertise; to gain MCC recognition dealers must pass a 48-point independent quality audit that examines every aspect of their business, including workshop cleanliness, the standard of equipment, staff training and customer advice quality. The scheme also includes car and truck tyre dealers and will include earthmover tyre specialists towards the end of 2012.
Despite a marked trend towards increased industrialisation, business remains good for medium-sized retreaders in Germany. A good example of the companies within this segment, who promise quality through their own brands and have secured market position through a shift to higher-margin products over a number of years, is Respa GmbH. The retreader from Passau, near the border between Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, is today one of only a few remaining high-profile passenger car tyre retreaders in Germany, and the company has established for itself a substantial market position in both the mould cure and precure retreading sectors. During a plant visit, Respa managing director Ferdinand Wenzl spoke with Tyres & Accessories about “an industry that is rich in variety.”
Many within the UK tyre industry know the name NDI Tyre & Tube Supplies Ltd. This Derbyshire-based firm is just one part of a much larger operation, however. Parent company Nordisk Dæk Import AS, is well represented as a wholesaler, fast-fit operator, retreader and wheel manufacturer in Scandinavia and parts of Europe. The company is headquartered in Brørup, in the west of Denmark, and in addition to its facility there, where around 750,000 tyres are held in stock, Nordisk Dæk Import – NDI for short – operates 17 wholesale outlets, making it one of the largest wholesalers within the region.
There are probably not too many experts on Greek mythology working in the tyre industry, but most people in the business are nevertheless familiar with the name Aeolus. This particular personage was revered by the ancient Greeks as ruler of the winds; more recently, the name has been adopted by a tyre maker whose profile in Europe is growing. First established in the mid-1960s, Chinese manufacturer Aeolus Tyre Co. Ltd. is today an important company within the government-owned conglomerate ChemChina (China National Chemical Corporation). In recent months the company has also merged with another tyre maker from within the ChemChina portfolio, Yellow Sea Rubber.
On 28 March the HiQ fast fit network celebrated the success of its charity partnership with Breast Cancer Care. Model and presenter Lisa Snowdon, who serves as an ambassador for the charity, thanked HiQ and its staff for their support; for the occasion, she was photographed with HiQ marketing manager Geraldine McGovern and Amanda Stagg, also from the company’s marketing department, holding an oversize cheque displaying the total amount HiQ has raised for Breast Cancer Care since 2009 – a respectable £87,000. The money raised is used to ensure Breast Cancer Care’s information and support services remain free to anyone who needs them.
Google Automotive Newsletter (Q1/2012) reports that Bridgestone’s Google Display Network safety and winter tyre campaign is its number one case study for an internet campaign in the automotive market in 2011. The Bridgestone campaign, carried out in collaboration with media agency PHD Germany, ran in major European countries and scored on awareness and reach with around one billion ad impressions over the year and up to 380 per cent incremental visitors to the Bridgestone website.
The rough environs of the UK Speedway scene is dominated by just one tyre brand: Mitas. The company supplies every tyre used on every speedway bike throughout the UK and in a sport that makes particularly stringent demands on its rubber, the company believes this fact says a lot about the quality and consistency of its products. Having supported the sport under an exclusive arrangement with the British Speedway Promoters Association for more than 10 years, filling the void left when Dunlop pulled out of the market, Mitas says it is now the only company that manufactures tyres for Speedway, delivering a high level of commitment and support.
Yokohama Tire Corporation has launched a new Spanish-language website for Mexico. “The website is designed to meet the needs of our growing customer base in Mexico,” said John Cooney, Yokohama's director of export. “It has been customised with many of the features found on our English-language website in the US, including an interactive dealer locator, interactive product ‘hot spots’ and downloadable bulletins in Spanish. These materials highlight the features and benefits of Yokohama's tyres ranging from our high-performance passenger car tires to fuel-efficient commercial truck tyres.”
AME International has introduced its new Nut Buddy tool at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky on 22-24 March. The tool allows wheel nuts over-tightened by an impact wrench to be removed by hand. “This tool is so simple to use, a child could easily remove wheel-nuts on an 18 wheeler that have been over-tightened,” commented Brett Waggoner, vice-president of the Brooksville, Florida tool manufacturer. “For anyone who is doing road service or removing truck wheels in the shop, it’s a huge timesaver.”
Following its international debut at the recent Geneva Motor Show, Continental AG officially launched its ContiPremiumContact 5 to the trade in Barcelona today. The tyre, which the company describes as “the perfect all-rounder”, offers 15 per cent better wet braking, an 8 per cent rolling resistance improvement, 5 per cent better noise performance and is in fact 2 -5 per cent better than its predecessor (the ContiPremiumContact 2) in all but one respect.
World Superbike rider, Sylvain Guintoli has spent the off-season riding in the UK on his own Ducati 1198SP road bike fitted with treaded Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tyres. The Team Effenbert Liberty Racing rider, who was born in France but now lives in the West Midlands with his British wife, decided to get out on track on his own tyres. Guintoli competed in the British Superbike Championship last year, and the rider decided to return to a cold Snetterton in January, and tackled Mallory and Oulton Park in March.
The makers of the Hofmann Power Weight brand of balancing weights will present various innovations and new products at this year's international tyre fair in Essen between 5 and 8 June (hall 1.0, stand 411). The theme at the Wegmann Automotive stand will be motor sports, a sector that’s all about speed. Wegmann has chosen to go for a motor sport motif as it says its new products, which have been developed on the race track and optimised for the workshop, can be mounted extremely quickly and easily.