Bridgestone has renewed its largest fleet contract for a further five years. Announced at the CV Show, the deal with Ryder, the UK’s leading provider of commercial vehicle rental, contract hire and maintenance solutions, represents a multi-million pound deal covering more than 24,500 trucks and trailers. Bridgestone’s 24-hour tyre management service network Truck Point was cited as a major factor behind Ryder’s decision to opt for the brand.
This year’s National Tyre Distributors Association’s annual dinner is the 85th holding of the event. While bearing a new name – what the industry has long known as the TAFF Awards has been rebranded as the Tyre Industry Awards – the dinner remains the UK industry’s main social event. Today, Pirelli announced it will sponsor the ‘Tyre Retail Centre of the Year’ award category. The award will be handed out at the annual NTDA dinner and prize-giving ceremony in Manchester on 8 October.
Netherlands-based wholesaler De Klok Banden started business as a coal supplier in Rotterdam in 1920 and entered the tyre sector with its first fitting station in the late 1960s before starting as a tyre wholesaler in 1982. Today De Klok is a leading import/export company dealing in a wide range of well-known tyre brands, including Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Firestone, Fulda, Goodyear, Michelin, Pirelli, Uniroyal, Vredestein. Furthermore, De Klok exclusively distributes the Nokian, Nankang, GT Radial, Accelera, Ovation and Sonar brands in some European markets, and also offers its own private brand, Delfin. It will highlight these private and exclusive lines at its Reifen show stand (Hall 3.0, Stand 3B46).
Vietnamese tyre maker Casumina reports the official inauguration of its new all-steel truck radial plant on 19 April. The 70,000 square metre factory, located in Tân Uyên (Binh Duong Province), northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, will hold a 350,000 tyre per annum capacity in its initial project phase, with capacity rising to 600,000 units a year by the end of 2015 with phase two. The final project phase, which will take place from late 2015 through to 2017, will lift annual capacity to one million tyres. A total of 1,200 new jobs will be created through the factory project.
Continental has announced its intention to purchase the outstanding shares in the 50/50 Emitec Gesellschaft für Emissionstechnologie mbH joint venture it operates with partner, Worcestershire-based GKN plc. Once the acquisition of the 50 per cent share currently held by GKN is complete, the business will be integrated into Continental’s Powertrain division. With the acquisition of Emitec and the deal’s approval, Continental will emerge as a supplier of exhaust aftertreatment systems. Continental has not stated the price it will pay for the remaining share in Emitec.
The point S retail network will be represented at Reifen 2014 by point S Development and the company’s German operation, point S Deutschland GmbH, which promises an “open and communicatively designed” exhibition stand. Gaining a prominent position on the stand (Hall 3.0, Stand 3B38) will be new products from the company’s own private brand, including the Summerstar Sport 3, which will enjoy its world premiere at Reifen, and the Summerstar 3. “With our strong Summerstar and Winterstar brands we have available an exclusive, profit-yielding product for our dealers,” commented Alfred Wolff, joint managing director of point S Deutschland GmbH.
As reported on 28 April, as of the start of May Toyo Tire Europe president Naoki Gonsui will also become president of Toyo Tire Deutschland. Toyo has announced a further personnel change taking effect 1 May: Kiyohito Hasumi, currently president of Toyo Tire Canada, will take on the additional role of president, Nitto Tire Canada.
While Goodyear Tire & Rubber has expressed satisfaction with the US$373 segment operating income earned in the first quarter of 2014, chairman and CEO Richard Kramer acknowledged the effect of ‘headwinds’ in emerging markets during the three-month period, particularly the impact of Venezuela on the company’s Latin America business. Segment operating income was up 24 per cent year-on-year and had a margin of 8.3 per cent; this is the fourth consecutive quarter where SOI margin has exceeded eight per cent.
Motorists in Italy have until 15 May to change their winter for summer tyres – and some face hefty fines if they fail to do so. Under a new regulation introduced by the country’s Ministry of Transport, M+S and snowflake marked tyres that bear a slower speed rating than the car’s maximum speed must be removed for the summer season. Failure to do so by the 15 May deadline may result in a fine of at least €419 and up to €1,682, and the vehicle needing to undergo a roadworthiness inspection.
Bridgestone has formed a technical partnership with Belgian motorcycle brand Saroléa, designer of the Saroléa SP7 electric superbike that was shown for the first time during the Speed Trophy at Belgium’s Mettet circuit on 26 April. The deal will see Bridgestone provide technical support and tyre expertise for Saroléa’s track testing and racing plans, which for 2014 include the TT Zero Challenge at the Isle of Man TT series and the FIM eRoadRacing world cup series.
Bridgestone Europe and Cam International have shared details of a new tablet based work management system designed to reduce back-office issues and improve data entry in the commercial vehicle tyre sector. Speaking at a fringe meeting during the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham on 29 April, Bridgestone Europe’s Neil Purves (senior manager, automated inspection and systems development commercial product) and Cam’s Steve Daly explained that the two companies have been in talks since the last CV Show and have now made a Europe-wide cooperation agreement culminating in the development of the project’s software.
Giti Tire has appointed Lorna Craig as its retail network development manager. The position has been created with a brief to develop further the GT Radial Performance Centre (GTPC) programme in the UK. Craig, formerly a brand manager with GT Radial distributor Micheldever, will work in partnership with the wholesaler to achieve this goal.
Michelin returned to Birmingham’s CV Show today with a global preview of the new X Multi T super single in size 385/65R22.5. Designed for a range of commercial vehicle applications with M+S markings, the tyre is labelled B-B-69dB), with longevity increased by around 10 per cent according to the manufacturer.
Michelin is introducing a new 24/7 breakdown service for truck, bus and coach operators. The Michelin ONCall service, which uses audited and approved Michelin Certified Centres to provide coverage across the UK and Republic of Ireland, was officially launched at the CV Show today. It draws upon the combined strength of all independent Michelin Truck Professional (MTP) dealers and ATS Euromaster centres to offer a rapid-response network of more than 300 commercial vehicle-ready service points.
As the May issue of Tyres & Accessories went to press, the government shared details of how its Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) is going to spend its £500 million funding allowance. For its part, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) duly welcomed the half a billion pound funding boost for low emission vehicles, characterising the move as part of a wider campaign to make the UK “a leader in the development and take-up of low emission vehicles”. Clearly this is on the political and commercial agendas (at least as far as the automotive manufacturers are concerned), but what does this all mean for the tyre business in general? And, with this year’s Tyre Retail feature published from page 26 of this issue, what does this mean for garages and tyre retail in particular?