New figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) confirm the growing strength and vitality of the UK automotive industry and its ascendancy as a major global player. SMMT’s 16th annual Sustainability Report confirms the sector is breaking new records, with turnover hitting an all-time high of £69.5 billion in 2014. Manufacturing output, vehicle sales, jobs and export values also grew, while the environmental impact from vehicle production has been reduced dramatically.
What’s a nanogenerator? It is, we are told, a device or technology that converts mechanical or thermal energy into electricity. The technology has already found its way into automotive and tyre applications, and now the University of Wisconsin-Madison reports that a group of its engineers have, together with a “collaborator from China”, developed a nanogenerator that could increase an electric vehicle’s mileage by around ten per cent.
Michelin communications head, Michael Küster will take on additional responsibility for commercial vehicle tyres and the Travel Publishing Group public relations on 1 July. Küster was previously head of product and motorsport communications with responsibility for Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH region). Nina Grigoleit, who previously supervised these areas, will take on other duties within the company.
Wheel servicing specialist Pro-Align has been awarded a five-star rating by leading garage equipment manufacturer Hunter Engineering for the first time. Pro-Align said this reflected the significant progression and development of the Hunter brand in the UK. The company was also presented with Hunter’s “Platinum Partner” award for the ninth consecutive year, indicating the Towcester-based company as one of Hunter’s most successful and important global distributors.
Falken was able to put the spotlight on its drifting activities at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, in conjunction with European drift champion and Falken Motorsports professional drifter James Deane. Deane was one of the few to be invited to drift the prestigious hillclimb in front of over 300,000 fans in attendance, and hundreds of thousands more online.
As of 1 July, specialty chemicals company Evonik Industries AG will have a new chief operating officer. Dr Ralph Sven Kaufmann will take the place of Patrick Wohlhauser, whose departure as COO and as a member of the company’s Executive Board was unanimously approved at a meeting of the Evonik Industries Supervisory Board on 25 June. Wohlhauser has served as COO since 1 January 2014 and been a member of the Executive Board since 1 April 2011.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has called on the chancellor to freeze or cut fuel duty ahead of Wednesday’s FairFuelUK event at the House of Commons. Chief executive David Wells has written to George Osborne asking him not to renege on his promise to hold current levels until September.
On 15 June Michelin launched what it says is the tyre industry’s first cloud-based content syndication platform. According to the company, the digital platform will allow partner dealers to access any kind of official digital content provided by the manufacturers in real time in order to automatically update their own sites.
It’s shaping up to be a warm weekend, and higher temperatures mean faster degradation for Formula One tyres. Therefore the two hardest tyre compounds – Pirelli’s P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium – have been selected for this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
VMI Holland BV has once again been named best performing subsidiary by parent company TKH Group NV. For the third time in five years, the developer and manufacturer of machinery for the tyre, rubber, canning and care industries has received the ‘Best Performing Company in TKH Group’ award. VMI reports that it won the award for 2014 due to its financial results and for its performance in three other key areas – innovativeness, entrepreneurship and excellence in production improvements.
Vehicle leasing specialist Arval has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GE Capital to acquire the latter’s European fleet management business. The scope of this acquisition covers more than 160,000 vehicles in 12 European countries, of which France, Germany and the UK represent more than three quarters; vehicle assets amount to €2.4bn as of Q1 2015. Parent company BNP Paribas states that the transaction will “significantly reinforce” Arval’s leading market position in Europe.
Following the retirement of Dan Guiney, Tom Kenny has taken over as Yokohama Tire Corporation’s director of technical service. He joins the company from Hankook Tire, where he served in a variety of roles for some 22 years, most recently as vice-president of technical. Previous industry experience also includes positions at Cooper Tire and Continental.
BEN, the automotive industry charity is extremely proud of their dedicated London to Paris 24 participants who cycled the 240 mile journey in less than 24 hours. So far, the team have raised over £25,500 for BEN with funds still coming in.
The UK’s plug-in vehicle sector is already experiencing record levels of demand in 2015 and the finale of the Formula E season in London could accelerate this trend. With thousands of spectators watching the races, plus millions more watching the event across the world, electric vehicle campaign Go Ultra Low anticipates a boost to plug-in car enquiries and registration figures.
The outcome of the FIA Formula E Championship was decided at the final round in London. Sam Bird (Virgin) won the last ePrix of the season, whilst the all-electric series’ inaugural titles were won by Nelson Piquet (Nextev TCR) – Drivers’ championship – and e.dams-Renault – Constructors.