Goodyear has announced that Samir Gibara (64) will resign as chairman at the end of June. He will be succeeded by Robert Keegan (55), who is currently president and CEO and who will retain responsibility for these two roles. Gibara joined Goodyear in 1964 and has been chairman since July 1996. He paid tribute to the speed with which Keegan learned the industry and demonstrated his leadership abilities. For his part, Keegan said that Gibara had provided important and valued counsel since Keegan joined Goodyear in October 2000 as president and COO.
Nokian and Matador To Commence Contract Manufacturing
Nokian Tyres plc and Matador AS are signing a contract manufacturing agreement. This transaction will mean that Matador will produce Nokian branded speed categories S, T, and H car summer tyres at its factory in Slovakia. The tyres will be sold in Eastern European markets. The production target for 2003 is 100 thousand Nokian tyres with initial sales taking place during the first quarter of the year. Volume manufacture will increase to 300 thousand tyres by the end of 2005.Through contract manufacturing Nokian will continue to ensure its growth potential in Eastern Europe. Production capacity at the companys factory in Finland will be freed to produce ultra high performance tyres. The agreement will be valid until the end of 2005 and after that on a one-year basis.
Samir G. Gibara (61), chairman and chief executive officer of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, has been elected to the board of directors of Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. in Kobe, Japan. Gibaras election is in conjunction with Goodyears 10 percent ownership of SRI, following the companies global alliance, completed in September 1999. This ownership makes Goodyear SRIs second-largest shareholder. SRI holds 1.4 percent of Goodyears common stock.
The Financial Times has published its annual list of the top 500 global companies, ranked by market capitalisation. The only tyre company in the world list is Bridgestone, at position number 300. In the list of the top 500 European companies, there are three; Michelin (304), Pirelli (311) and Continental (482).
Tyre Manufacturers In Global E-Commerce Initiative
Six of the largest tyre manufacturers have announced their intention to develop a global e-business purchasing company. Rubbernetwork.com is an independent company which will host a global exchange, including Conti, Cooper, Goodyear, Michelin, Pirelli and Sumitomo Rubber. Confidentiality is assured and the exchange will be open to all manufacturers and suppliers. It will be operating by the year end. Significant savings and efficiencies in purchasing are predicted.
“Only Over My Dead Body” – Goodyear And Dunlop Brands Remain In Competition
Sylvain G. Valensi (58), who has 34 years service with Goodyear, latterly as Vice President Goodyear Europe, has, since the joint venture with Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI), assumed the role of Vice President of Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe. Talking to this magazine during the recent Reifen 2000 exhibition in Essen, he stressed that the major brands Goodyear and Dunlop will remain independent and will almost be in competition with each other.
1999 Cragar Industries (Phoenix/USA) sold most of the assets of its wheel business to Weld Racing and to Carlisle Tire & Wheel. The remaining assets have now been sold to midwest distributor PDK, Inc. and so the company has abandoned its (until now) core business of producing and distributing wheels. Cragar is still in the wheel business as the licensor of its brand, but is focussed now on Internet business.
Manufacturing Agreements Signed Between Nokian And Michelin
Two agreements have been signed by Nokian and Michelin concerning the off-take manufacture of Nokian brand agricultural, industrial and truck tyres at Michelins Polish factory. The agreements will last for three years and will be renewed annually thereafter. Sales of agricultural and industrial tyres will start this year and truck tyres early in 2001.
Only a month ago NEUE REIFENZEITUNG reported at length on Mobile Fitting as a sensible and vital service in the truck tyre business. Now Goodyear-Handelssysteme GmbH, a Goodyear marketing subsidiary, plans the introduction of Mobile Fitting (known as Tire Valet in USA) for car tyres. The idea is still at an early stage. Time is money, the marketing people in Cologne believe, and aim to gain new types of customers with the new service. With marketing programmes, whose details are still to be developed, the company wants to appeal to fleet operators as well as small enterprises, self-employed people as well as private users. Run as a comprehensive service, Mobile Fitting will also be suitable to give status to the tyre dealer. Whether Mobile Fitting can be taken as far as the end user’s front door is still uncertain. In our country potentially good ideas have the nasty habit of falling foul of vetoing authorities. Nothing can be done without special permission, to be granted by each local authority individually.
Pirelli has released first details of a new manufacturing system, called MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotised System). The company is investing 250 million Euros over the next five years. A MIRS plant that can produce one million tyres a year would employ 104 people in five shifts, would occupy 3,500 sq. m. and the investment cost (excluding the building itself) would be around 45 million Euros. According to Pirelli, MIRS reduces the steps of the tyre building process from the previous 14 to only three. Instead of passing the tyres from hand to hand in the production process, the MIRS work is done by robots. Tyre type and size are fed into the computer at the beginning of production, the rest is done by the computer alone, without human interference. MIRS is therefore a kind of mini-factory with an extremely high degree of flexibility. The factory can be built anywhere where there is a market. The technology, which Pirelli does not disclose and is not prepared to share with a competitor, not even under licence, was developed by Pirelli’s research and development department in co-operation with Italian universities and the Ministry of Research and Science. A pilot plant will start work in the Bicocca factory near Milan at the end of June 2000. The Italiens claim a manufacturing cost reduction of 25 p.c. for the MIRS method compared with the traditional way, and Pirelli boss Tronchetti Provera plans to manufacture three million tyres by the new method by the year 2003, or 15 p.c. of its high and ultra-high performance tyres. If all goes to plan, it will be possible to produce five million MIRS tyres within five years.