Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner scored his first MotoGP victory at Jerez after fending off Factory Yamaha Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo in a closely contested Spanish GP. Masao Azuma, chief engineer at tyre supplier Bridgestone’s Motorsport Tyre Development Department, said: “I am happy with how both our wet and slick tyres performed at Jerez in what were very challenging operating conditions.”
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe Ltd has appointed Peter McNally as general manager of its European Technical Centre at the company’s European headquarters in Melksham, UK. The appointment follows the move of former ETC head Gavin Edwards to Cooper’s Asia Technical Center. McNally takes up his new role with immediate effect.
While the Formula One season currently involves 20 long weekends across most of the world’s continents – Africa and Antarctica continue to hold out – tyre supplier Pirelli is adding a mid-week run at Mugello, Italy from 1-3 May; the first time that in-season testing has been seen in Formula One since September 2008 (excluding last year’s Abu Dhabi young driver test). The manufacturer explains that the test will allow for greater understanding of the way the P Zero, and Cinturato if rain is forthcoming, tyres work, “accumulating more data” and allowing some of the team’s “third drivers to get time in a Formula One car on the current tyres.” This is the first mid-season test since Bridgestone completed a session in 2008, though pre-, and post-season sessions are common practice.
Dunlop Motorsport general manager Jean-Felix Bazelin says that the tyre manufacturer faces “one of the biggest challenges in motorsport”, as it travels to the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps presents numerous challenges, with Dunlop highlighting “one of the greatest compressions seen by race tyres on any circuit as cars streak through the downhill to uphill transition from Eau Rouge to Le Raidillion, and the fickle Ardennes weather, which can mean a track with both wet and dry sectors. The six hours of racing take place on 5 May, and Dunlop tyres have been chosen by all of the bumper LMP2 class of 13 cars, with sole representatives in the LMP1 and GTE Am classes.
Michelin Tyre PLC has announced a successor to Martin Covington, who retired as head of Truck and Bus Marketing after a 37-year career at Michelin. Tyre industry newcomer Sharn Samra has been appointed to the role, with responsibility for the UK and Ireland. She joins Michelin from Wolverhampton-based lock and home security firm Yale, where she had worked since 2004, initially as the company’s head of Product Management and Marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa before taking over as head of Business Development in 2009. Prior to working at Yale, Samra spent three years as a product manager at Staffordshire-based Newell Rubbermaid.
Titan International is very pleased with its first quarter 2012 results. The company recorded sales of US$463.1 million for the three-month period, compared to first quarter 2011 sales of $280.8 million; these higher sales levels are attributed to the April 2011 acquisition of Goodyear’s Latin American agricultural tyre business, which recorded sales of $90.3 million for the first quarter 2012 and continued to benefit from strong demand in the agriculture and earthmoving/construction segment, combined with price/mix improvements.
Bob Majewski, president of the US-based Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau, has reminded all member retreaders of the costs involved in TRIB’s day-to-day operation, and appealed for annual membership dues to be paid – before errant members find themselves out of the loop.
News out of India indicate Alliance Tire Group is planning to erect a new OTR tyre plant there and boost capacity at another plant. According to a report in the Business Standard, the tyre maker is looking at investing a total of around US$160 million; this will go towards a 50,000 tonne per annum greenfield facility in Gujarat state and to boost output from the company’s Tamil Nadu factory from 48,000 tonnes per annum to 61,000 tonnes. A co-generation plant will also be installed in Tamil Nadu.
Despite higher sales, PT Gajah Tunggal Tbk reports its net profit for the first quarter of 2012 was down 23.5 per cent year-on-year. During the three months to 31 March 2012 the Indonesian tyre maker made sales of Rp 3,146 billion (£210.0 million), up 8.63 per cent on a year earlier. Gross profit amounted to Rp 558 billion (£37.2 million), while net profit came to Rp 254 billion (£17.0 million), down from Rp 332 billion a year earlier. EBITDA increased from Rp 380 billion to 497 billion (£33.2 million).
On 25 April, Hankook Tire Co., Ltd. reported to the Korea Stock Exchange that its Board of Directors has approved the divestment of its tyre business, effective 1 September 2012. This measure is being taken to improve shareholders' and corporation value. The company will remain listed and the division being divested, Hankook Tire Worldwide Co., Ltd., will form a public company.
Kumho Tires claims to have developed a tyre capable of achieving an ‘A’ rating in the European tyre label for both rolling resistance and wet grip. The tyre in question is the Ecowing ES01, which Kumho intends to launch in Europe in the second half of 2012.
Fan Rende, chairman of the China Rubber Industry Association, shares that China has launched a plan to develop ‘green’ tyres. The plan calls for half of China’s tyre makers to be capable of manufacturing fuel-efficient tyres by the end of the country’s current five year guideline in December 2015, and for half of these tyre makers’ output to be green tyres by the same date.
During extraordinary general meetings at Ruia Group companies Falcon Tyres Ltd and Dunlop India Ltd, held on 26 and 28 April respectively, both tyre makers announced that a portion of their equity will be transferred to three companies outside of the Ruia Group. This transfer is aimed at reducing company debt; the recipient firms are Suncap Commodities Ltd, Regus Impex Pvt Ltd and Salputri Commerce Pvt Ltd.
After reading the facts unearthed by the latest Kwik Fit survey, you’d be forgiven for wishing some British motorists stuck to public transport. The study of 2,027 adults carried out for the fast fit network shows that four per cent of respondents – a proportion representing 1.3 million British motorists – don’t even know if their vehicle has a spare wheel. Three per cent – think a million motorists – confessed to not having any provision whatsoever for a flat tyre.
Michelin has given word of its 24 April repurchase of more than ten per cent of the issued number of its lowest ranking subordinated notes (titres subordonnés remboursables de dernier rang), due 3 December 2033, for an aggregate nominal amount of 500,000,000 euros admitted to trading on the regulated market of NYSE Euronext Paris under ISIN FR0010034298. Following the repurchase, the outstanding nominal amount is 85,197,000 euros.