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.
Goodyear suggests tyre label incentives, mandatory truck TPMS
Goodyear today published a whitepaper culminating in recommendations including incentives for truck fleets to purchase high label-rated tyres and the mandatory fitment of TPMS in commercial vehicles in a way similar current rules for passenger cars. Other recommendations include: offering incentives for fuel efficient fleets; clarity on reforms to rules related to weights and dimensions of commercial vehicles; further guidelines on cross-border operations of larger vehicles; more support to make the most from new telematics technology like harmonized standards for telematics; and extra support from regulators to the road fleet sector to attract and retain skilled drivers.
Continental furthers Asian football activities with Chinese sponsorship deal
Football is Continental’s chosen brand promotion method in many parts of the world, and its involvement in the game has been extended by its entry into a four-year collaboration with the Chinese Football Association. This deal with the CFA was announced at the start of Continental’s AFC Asian Cup 2015 Australia Trophy Tour on 26 September. Continental states that this new agreement, along with its AFC Asian Cup 2015 sponsorship, represents a specific focus on the Asia Pacific region.
Tyre unit sales stabilised amongst ETRMA members during Q3 2014
Unit sales for tyre makers belonging to the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers Association were stable in on-road segments during the third quarter of 2014, while the agricultural segment experienced a year-on-year decline. Unit sales of passenger car tyres increased 1.4 per cent to 58,409,000 pieces, a development the ETRMA attributes to a growth in new car registrations. Commercial vehicle tyre unit sales remained relatively flat, declining only 0.23 per cent to 2,552,000 pieces, while two-wheeler tyre sales were up 0.90 per cent to 1,797,000 units. The only area of the market where ETRMA members saw major movement was in the agricultural segment, and this was movement of the unwelcome variety, as unit sales dropped 8.97 per cent to 386,000 pieces.
Western Europe launch – development of Starco’s solid forklift tyre ranges continues
Although at three years of age Starco’s solid industrial tyre production plant in Sri Lanka is still a relative infant, initial targets set for the facility have already been reached and the company is now looking ahead to the next milestones. This sort of success doesn’t occur by accident, and the good experiences Starco has enjoyed so far in Sri Lanka are the result of planning that began long before the plant was even set up. Tyres & Accessories recently met a key figure Starco assigned to implement the solid tyre project, and learned a little more about the factory and the products being made there.
Bridgestone gains BMW supplier award for ologic technology
Pirelli received one, and so has Bridgestone: The tyre maker is the new owner of a BMW Supplier Innovation Award 2014. Bridgestone was awarded in the ‘Efficient Dynamics’ category in recognition of the ologic technology it developed for the BMW i3. The honour was presented to Bridgestone Europe’s CEO and president, Franco Annunziato, by Gerhard Kurz, BMW’s senior vice-president Purchasing Driving Dynamics, at an official ceremony in Amsterdam on 1 October.
Chengshan Group Company Ltd. intends to acquire Cooper Tire & Rubber Company’s 65 per cent ownership in the two companies’ Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Tire Company Ltd (CCT) joint-venture. Owing to the fact that the purchase offer is based on a pre-agreed “call option”, which itself is priced on the back of an agreed valuation of US$440 million, this means Chengshan has agreed to pay roughly US$286 million for the company. Coopers share price fell a dollar from around $29 to roughly $28 in response to the announcement.
Pirelli has been presented with the 2014 BMW Supplier Innovation Award, a prize that the German manufacturer gives to its most innovative suppliers every year. The Italian tyre firm was awarded the ‘best innovation in quality’ prize at a ceremony held yesterday in Amsterdam, for its Real Dynamic Curing technology: used in the tyre vulcanisation process.
Liverpool-based wholesaler Kirkby Tyres & Wheels has expanded to become one of the biggest – if not the biggest - wholesalers of agricultural tyres and wheels in the UK and Ireland during its 60-plus year history. The distributor now boasts a range of more than 6,000 different product lines, with sole distributorship deals on Alliance, Double Coin, Longmarch, Malhotra and Sailun brands within certain segments. It was also appointed as the wholesale distributor for Trelleborg’s premium agricultural tyre products, alongside Trelleborg Wheel Systems’ direct tyre dealer network.
Grouptyre warehouse openings cap year of development for wholesaler
Grouptyre opened new warehousing facilities in Tyne and Wear in September, joining other recent additions in Aylesbury, Brentwood, Leeds and Worcester over the last 12 months – a busy period for the company. In addition to this investment in its physical infrastructure, 2014 also saw the wholesale group launch an improved e-Commerce facility, Tyres Online, on which more information is presented in the Online Tyre Business section of this issue.
Starco has opened a new solid tyre manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka. The new facility, which has a capacity of 100,000 tyres per annum, replaces the original Starco facility in the country three years after starting production, and Starco states that the success of the venture has led to the need for a larger, more modern and better equipped factory. Starco continues that much attention has been paid to employee health and safety and welfare A Sri Lankan ceremony, in which the new workplace and its employees and management were blessed according to the local Buddhist tradition, was held in September to mark the opening.
Dunlop Aircraft Tyres announces North Carolina as preferred site for US plant
British aviation tyre manufacturer, Dunlop Aircraft Tyres has identified a site in Mocksville, North Carolina as the preferred base for its first retreading facility in the United States. The world’s only specialist aircraft tyre manufacturer and retreader announced its decision to establish the facility in order to boost its competitiveness across the Americas.
Sailun, DistriCash demonstrate UHP tyre performance gains in France
Tyre manufacturer Sailun showed its commitment to the US market by bringing online its tariff-beating Vietnam plant earlier in the year. Now, at an event co-hosted by distributor DistriCash in the picturesque Brittany village, Lohéac, France, the manufacturer has demonstrated its growing response to European markets’ performance demands with its latest ultra-high performance tyre, the Atrezzo ZSR.
Cooper Tire is the world’s leading tyre company in terms of global social media influence, according to research conducted by Tyres & Accessories. Meanwhile the 2014 rankings also show that Michelin went up one place and held off Continental to top our UK chart. There has been significant change in both cases as well as a strengthening in the online presence of mid-range brands, something we also found in our online brand equity research (see separate article).
Wide variation in prices achieved by different brands and platforms online
Online tyre retailing continues to grow in volume and influence – something that has been expected for a long time. However, the proliferation of differing online strategies is something that is proving to be less predictable. Gone are the days when online tyre retailing was simply a price competition, or in other words a race to the bottom. That strategy has resulted in the demise of many here-today-gone-tomorrow startups and has instead led to the development of a considerably more nuanced market place. Still, the online tyre space remains fiercely competitive with the likes of Blackcircles and Tyregiant each signing deals with supermarkets Tesco and Asda respectively; and with National Tyres backing the AA’s tyre offer, as another example, In other words, this market is now about far more than who can offer budget tyres for the lowest price.