Two years ago, at Reifen 2010, Starco marketing manager Brian Lorentzen told Tyres & Accessories off the record that the company was in the process of developing plans involving the agricultural sector. At this year’s show the news was finally made public as Starco announced its entry into the tractor radial tyre market. The Danish company describes this agricultural debut, which centres on a new distribution agreement with the tyre manufacturer ATG (Alliance Tire Group), as “a move that breaks with the past and indicates the shape of things to come.” Under the agreement, Starco will now distribute ATG’s Galaxy tractor tyre range in Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Germany and the Benelux countries.
Continental says it has expanded its research and development centre in Hanover-Stöcken and installed a new facility that can inspect the insides of passenger car and commercial vehicle tyres more quickly and efficiently. The advantage offered by the LINAC (Linear Electronic Accumulation) computer tomography facility, says Conti, is that it enables internal tyre components to be tested under conditions that replicate on-road driving conditions.
Techking has introduced its first tubeless mining tyre. The Chinese manufacturer says it has released a size 12.00R24 mining pattern; advantages it reports over comparable tube-type tyres are higher air retention from the high-grade butyl liner compared with that of an inner tube, less heat generation and better heat release, a lighter overall weight and more convenient mounting and dismounting.
On 2 July Superbike teams and riders will be given their first opportunity to experience Pirelli’s new 17-inch Diablo Superbike tyres for themselves. The tyre maker has confirmed a test day will be held at the Aragòn circuit in Spain next Monday for riders to check out prototypes of the tyre size the Superbike World Championship will run on as of next year. As part of the day’s programme, riders will initially ride on the current 16.5-inch tyres for a few laps – the same tyres available for this weekend’s race – before moving on to the 17-inch tyres. Pirelli says four 17-inch front tyres and four rear tyres will be used; in order to make a direct comparison easier, both these and the 16.5-inch tyres will feature the same compound, SC1.
Continental states that it tested around 500 truck and bus tyres in preparation for releasing its European label results on 1 July. The German tyre maker says it has now integrated all measured tyre data into the company’s existing internal and external SAP-supported computer systems and made it available to retailers. Unlike passenger car and van tyres, no physical label will be affixed to individual truck and bus tyres, however. Instead, Continental and its sales partners will list the data in the technical documents for the products, at points of sale, on the internet and on invoices.
HiQ has launched a competition to find its 2012 Grid Girl. The winner will represent the brand and its partnership with Breast Cancer Care at the final round of Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship racing at Brands Hatch in October and act as its ambassador for ‘Pink October’; the yearly fundraising campaign for Breast Cancer Care. HiQ has targeted £100,000 as its fundraising milestone. Voting on the campaign will be stimulated through HiQ’s Facebook app, part of the brand’s vibrant social networking channels on Twitter and Facebook, where regular updates will also be posted. Nominations are open now, and a top 10 will be created after a period of voting, at which point a second phase of voting will begin, both online and through HiQ’s Facebook app.
Trelleborg Group has inaugurated its latest new manufacturing facility in Xingtai, Hebei, China to manufacture high-performance specialty, primarily agricultural tyres.
According to the company, the latest undisclosed investment is part of Trelleborg’s continued long-term strategy to grow in markets with “favourable potential.” The site produces both radial and bias technology tyres for farming, forestry and agro-industrial applications in sizes ranging from 18 to 42 inches. The manufacturing output from the facility will reach 150,000 units over more than 200 tyre sizes by 2013. It will serve the needs of Trelleborg’s partners by providing local supply to their Chinese facilities, and just as importantly to local manufacturers.
Continental Tyres has introduced new visual alignment indicators (VAI) on two long distance truck tyre sizes; the first time such indicators have become available on truck tyres in Europe. The VAIs aim to show operators incorrect wheel alignment on trucks and trailers more easily and without the use of expensive electronic measuring systems. Conti says the system should help fleet operators to spot excessive positive or negative camber angles or too much toe-in or toe-out, all of which can decrease tyre life through uneven wear and increase fuel consumption. Early detection through a simple visual check can be carried out as part of a routine maintenance inspection.
The latest report from AlixPartners reveals that the decline in vehicle sales is not evenly distributed across Europe, but has distinct focal points.
Belgium, Italy and France have experienced double-digit declines in sales and the outlook remains negative. In the UK, Germany and Spain, by contrast, declines have been relatively moderate (between 0.8 per cent and 2.4 per cent), while the markets in Russia and Poland have grown slightly.
The European automotive industry is severely in need of consolidation, says AlixPartners. In North America, the crisis of 2008/2009 led to "a healthy streamlining" of the automotive industry – by contrast, only three car factories have been closed in Western Europe since 2007, while eight Eastern European plants were opened during the same period.
As a key partner of the technology leaders in the tyre industry, LeasePlan Corporation N.V. has announced its readiness to comply with the latest EU legislation regarding tyre labelling. As people must surely be aware by now, the new labels will rate fuel-efficiency, wet grip performance, and the exterior rolling noise of tyres.
With 1,324 exhibitors from 56 countries and 20,715 visitors from 120 countries, the 10th Automechanika Middle East, held recently in Dubai, proved to be a very successful show. The upbeat trend at the exhibition was a direct reflection of the extremely positive outlook for the regional aftermarket, as underlined by Dubai's most recent trade figures.
Richard Hayes, the incoming president of the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE), has certainly started his term with a bang by calling for HGVs to be banned from UK motorways on Sundays and has written to Roads Minister Mike Penning, asking for the Department of Transport to investigate the possibility.
In line with its plan to continue the strategic growth of its business Manbat, the UK's largest battery distributor, has set its sights on Europe as its makes its debut appearance at Automechanika, Frankfurt this September, promoting its three key battery brands of Numax, Lucas and VARTA to the European aftermarket.
Aldermore, the new British challenger bank, says UK haulage firms still need fuel price parity with other European countries if they are to successfully fight-off foreign competition.
Responding to the announcement that the government is to postpone its proposed 3p price increase in fuel duty until January 2013, Damon Walford, Managing Director of Aldermore Invoice Finance, said: "The UK haulage industry remains at a significant disadvantage against European competitors, who pay as little as 106p per litre for diesel in Spain, 111p in Austria and just 96p in Luxemburg (even in Germany and France, diesel prices are significantly lower at 115p and 118p respectively).
Six companies have signed again with Bridgestone’s Truck Point network. Three companies from the UK – Downton Transport and C&H Hauliers from England, NR Evans from Wales and Yuill & Dodds from Scotland – have chosen to give Bridgestone their fleet servicing contracts, while Truck Point consolidated its position in the Republic of Ireland with two renewed contracts from National Truck Rentals in Dublin and Tops Oils in Cork.