Giti’s European R&D centre ready for growing OE business
It’s been a year since Tyres & Accessories first met the recently-appointed head of Giti Tire’s new R&D Centre Europe. At the time, R&D director Stefan Fischer shared the tyre maker’s plans and showed off the still largely-empty premises where specialists would soon be hard at work. A lot has changed in 12 months: Upon returning to the Hannover, Germany-based facility, we saw it was well and truly up and running and, in the important area of original equipment development, even further established than originally planned.
Tyre business results flat at Trelleborg despite lower organic sales
Sweden’s Trelleborg AB has reported a 5.8 per cent increase in net sales in the third quarter of 2013, with acquired business contributing some two per cent towards this result. Company president and CEO Peter Nilsson commented that Trelleborg “achieved these healthy earnings despite weaker market trends for several market segments and thus a slight fall-off in organic growth.”
In response to slowing emerging markets (excepting China) as well as economic and geopolitical uncertainties, Michelin has lowered its full-year volume growth outlook from three per cent to between one and two per cent. The French tyre maker says the market slowdown observed since the second quarter of this year continued into the third. In addition to contracting original equipment demand from emerging markets apart from China, demand also weakened in Europe, particularly for truck tyres. Overall sales volumes rose by one per cent during the third quarter, with price-mix effect a negative two per cent.
Next ‘Apollo Challenges’ Manchester United contest begins
The second test in the Manchester United ‘Apollo Challenges’ skill challenge has been released. This unit is called the ‘Apollo Control Challenge’ and sees Manchester United and Belgium international midfielder Marouane Fellaini demonstrate how to master perfect ball control, an invaluable skill when playing in one of the most competitive and fast-paced areas of the pitch. The challenge can be viewed at the apollochallenges.com website.
Guayule tyre performance at least equal to conventional tyres, says Cooper
Cooper Tire & Rubber is now evaluating the first tyres it has built using rubber derived from guayule plants, and says that to-date the wheel, road and track tests suggest tyre performance that is at least equal to tyres manufactured using traditional Hevea-sourced rubber. The tyre maker reported this development to its consortium partners – PanAridus, Arizona State University, Cornell University, and the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS) – at the group’s recent meeting for its third annual meeting and progress report on their US$6.9 million Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) grant, ‘Securing the Future of Natural Rubber—An American Tire and Bioenergy Platform from Guayule.’
CAM and CAM International have signed a technical cooperation agreement with Pineapple Creative Ltd. The agreement will help the tyre industry software supplier to provide customers in the UK and Republic of Ireland with the opportunity to access cost effective web-oriented design and development for e-commerce related projects in conjunction with its own services.
Sensing and electrical protection supplier Sensata Technologies has completed its acquisition of Schrader, the global tyre pressure monitoring sensor (TPMS) and valve solutions manufacturer. The transaction provides Sensata with a leadership position in the growing TPMS market, the company said in a statement announcing the news.
Even today the number of Chinese tyre makers, and tyre brands, remains exceptionally high. The necessity for consolidation is obvious and something China’s authorities are well aware of. And in the People’s Republic of China, where the state has a closer relationship to the market than in the West, how a firm appears to measure up can be crucial. Tyre makers who fail to meet targets set for them fall by the wayside while those who establish a global presence grow in favour and are viewed as strategically significant enterprises. This state-business relationship also means companies can rely upon government support in one form or another – and this certainly applies in the case of Jiaozuo, Henan Province-based Aeolus Tyre Co., Ltd.
Kings Road Tyres builds brand portfolio, fleet in year following sale
At the beginning of 2014, Kings Road Tyres entered a new era. A controlling interest in the wholesaler was purchased by a group involving Chinese European and North American interests, and involving the Sailun Group “indirectly”. Following its sale, the existing management team, led by Adrian Bader, has overseen the development of its brand portfolio, with an increased involvement in the passenger car segment for the commercial vehicle tyre specialist heralded by an agreement to distribute Aeolus-branded PCR and 4x4 products. KRT says this deal, launched at October’s Brityrex show, alongside other investments in its brand portfolio and business infrastructure is setting up leading UK tyre wholesaler Kings Road Tyres (KRT) for a sustained period of long-term growth.
Early next month Euro Bus Expo 2014 is coming to the NEC Birmingham, and GT Radial will attend the show as an exhibitor for the first time. A range of products aimed at the passenger transport segment will be on display at the GT Radial stand, with the GSR225 Combi Road and GAU861 all-position urban city-bus tyres heading a comprehensive portfolio.
Leicester City Football Club has announced that Toyo Tires will be joining the Foxes as a Club Partner for the 2014/15 season. Toyo Tires’ club partnership will see the Japanese company enjoy a “considerable commercial presence” at King Power Stadium, while their branding will also be visible on City’s first team training wear.
Keishi Inoue, managing director of Toyo Tires UK, said: “Our partnership with Leicester City starts at a great time, because it provides a fantastic opportunity to grow our brand with a genuinely aspirational club on one of the world’s biggest sporting stages – the Premier League.
German authorities give Michelin green light to acquire Ihle Baden-Baden
The German Federal Cartel Office has decided that no further proceedings are necessary prior to granting approval for Michelin’s planned acquisition of Ihle Holding AG, parent company of tyre wholesaler Ihle Baden-Baden AG. In an official notification, the Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) reported that the acquisition is seen as posing no problem.
Bridgestone releases latest mid-term management plan
The Japanese word ‘dan-totsu’ can be translated as ‘unrivalled or ‘unassailable’, and this is what Bridgestone aims to be; in its Mid-Term Management Plan 2014, released today, the tyre maker outlines the steps it intends to take on the path to reaching a dan-totsu position.
Water awareness at Pirelli’s Carlisle plant has put the company in the running for a prize at The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2014. Pirelli is on the shortlist as a finalist in the Sustainable Manufacturing category joining the likes of Coca Cola Enterprises; Johnstons Sweepers; the Vallant Group; and Encirc & Capporo Industries.
Construction work has officially begun on Hankook Tire’s new factory in the United States following a groundbreaking ceremony held at the plant site in Clarksville, Tennessee on 9 October. The new facility, which is expected to begin operation in 2016 and will reach a production capacity of 12 million units, is Hankook’s eighth production facility worldwide and first in North America.