While some say the Mayan’s predicted the apocalypse would take place this year, the good news is that Armageddon doesn’t appear to have taken place either literally or figuratively. Instead, as we look back on 2012 it is probably fair to say that the year has been dominated by labelling, tough tyre retail sell-out conditions and a resurgence in car sales and production…in the UK at least. Some might gloomily reflect on the fact that our economy as a whole encountered a double dip recession, but there are also signs that the bad times are slowing and in fact things may even pick up a bit in the year to come. (All these themes are followed up in this month’s Review of 2012 feature, which begins on page 40 in our forthcoming December issue)
Norgesdekk AS has bought P. Holth AS in a move that sees the company expand to five locations. The business already has operations in Bergen, Jaeren Kristiansand and Tonsberg, Norway. According to the company, the expansion takes effect on 1 January 2013.
A key piece of equipment demonstrated at Pro-Align’s recent ‘Service Vision’ events held across the country was the newly-introduced Hunter Road Force ‘Touch’ balancer. This new unit includes unique features that allow it to measure road force variation and load force measurement, and Pro-Align believes it is set to transform wheel balancing. This potential was well demonstrated in September; despite being launched only a matter of weeks ago, the new system has already claimed its first international accolade – it was awarded the prestigious Innovation award at the Automechanika show in Germany.
Pirelli UK Tyres shares that the Pirelli Key Point conference it held earlier this month was well received, with more than 25 customers attending a two-day event that culminated in a visit to the Bentley Motors factory in Crewe. Pirelli Key Point is an industry accreditation scheme that puts independent tyre dealerships through a stringent auditing process in order to gain accreditation and take advantage of a number of business benefits. Pirelli UK renamed its former Driver retail scheme to Pirelli Key Point in January in order to bring it in line with Pirelli European retail strategy.
US wholesaler Tire Group International has expanded its international sales team with the appointment of Luis Torres as the company’s new vice-president of international program sales. Torres, who has more than 25 years of experience within the tyre industry, joins TGI from the Alliance Tire Group, where he served as export sales manager. Prior to this he was director of export sales at Hercules Tires International. According to TGI, Torres boasts a vast amount of experience in all tyre segments, with particular emphasis on agricultural, industrial and OTR.
However depressed the market feels to suppliers and despite the legitimate complaints of tough times from the retail sector, the overall UK tyre replacement sales situation in terms of unit sales is actually getting marginally better. According to the latest passenger car tyre sell-out sales data for the first nine months of 2012, compiled by leading international market research firm GfK, things are far from rosy, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Last week Bridgestone reported its Turanza T001 would be fitted to the new Mazda6 in markets outside of North America. Dunlop Tires in the US has also announced the original equipment supply of its tyres to the Mazda6. The new ‘2014’ model (which despite its name will go on sale early next year) will come equipped with the Dunlop SP Sport 5000 in size P225/45R19. Dunlop is claiming exclusive fitment with this size, which indicates the supply deal covers the North American market only.
In the 12 years since Bandvulc Tyre Contracts (BTC) was formed in 2000, the company has established a 24/7/365 Tyre Support Unit (TSU), Galahad job sheet web software, a fully functional disaster recovery suite, new generation phone hardware/software and web-based reporting. Today the business manages over 100 key transport fleets including many well-known blue-chip names with the UK’s largest supermarket retailers all using Bandvulc tyres managed by BTC. At the centre of all this is what the company refers to as a technology and specifically a software revolution.
As a supporter of breast cancer awareness campaigns, Kumho Tires is participating in the 'Pink Ribbon Love Marathon'. Earlier, in June, Kumho Tires held a new product launch presentation held at an aircraft hanger at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, where it also signed an agreement with the Korea Breast Cancer Foundation to support the Pink Ribbon Campaign, a programme designed to promote the importance of breast health, a regular breast self-exam and early detection. The campaign is run by Korea Breast Cancer Foundation, established in 2000 as Korea's first non-profit foundation dedicated to breast health.
Finding a job at Continental just became easier for people on the go – the tyre and automotive supplier has released an Apple-compatible career app, and it shares that an Android version is currently in development. Conti says the app can help potential employees “conveniently find a dream job with the international automotive supplier.”
Michelin has shared news of customer praise for its Power CL tyres. It says Market Harborough-based plant hire company Harborough Hire Centre (HHC) held a comparative test between the Power CL and a rival ‘major’ brand, fitting the two manufacturers’ tyres to selected machines within its fleet of 42 JCB and Manitou telescopic handlers, and 47 Thwaites and Terex dumpers.
Apollo Tyres has disclosed further details about its global expansion plans. Speaking with news agency Press Trust of India, vice-chairman and managing director Neeraj Kanwar referred to projects amounting to $US1 million. This investment will take place over the next half decade.
With a technical background that includes a stint as a motorsport technician working in the UK 30 years ago, Yokohama’s president went on to share further details of exactly how the new tyre surpasses its predecessor. To improve steering stability, a new "Matrix Body Ply Structure" was developed employing technology fostered through participation in world motorsports. According to the company, weight was reduced while rigidity was maintained, producing more agile handling and more comfortable ride, although this upgrade is not available on all sizes in the range. Meanwhile the asymmetrical, non-directional tread pattern – inside for enhanced performance on wet surfaces, outside for dry – features a new compound created to provide “exceptional” grip.
Three decades after Japanese tyre manufacturer Yokohama began supplying tyres to the Macau Grand Prix, the company returned to the glitz and glamour of what is the Chinese equivalent of Las Vegas to celebrate 30 years of partnership with the event. In order to mark the occasion, Tyres & Accessories was there to smell the rubber and witness the racing action as well as report on the race-to-road developments of the tyre supplier (see separate article in December's magazine for more on this).
Michael Rutter secured his place in the history books taking an eighth victory in Macau and dominating the two-wheel action. Using the latest generation Pirelli Diablo Superbike slick tyres from the company’s ‘road race’ programme, Rutter opted for a harder rear compound for his SMT Honda Fireblade which lasted throughout this unique race at the former Portuguese colony. Runner-up Martin Jessopp (Riders Ducati) chose the softer option rear to record a fastest lap at this final International event of the year.