RSSEditorial/Comment

New chapter in politics parallels new chapter in UK automotive manufacturing

New chapter in politics parallels new chapter in UK automotive manufacturing

29th July 2019 | 0 Comments

As we all now know, Boris Johnson became the United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister on 24 July. The first thing he did was replace almost the entire cabinet, with a reshuffle of unprecedented proportions. Next, he gave his maiden speech on the steps of 10 Downing Street, with an address that sought to build a platform for economic and political optimism against the recent backdrop of Brexit stagnation. Not only will we leave the EU by 31 October, we are going to do it in style, he effectively said. In doing so, Boris – as he is affectionately known – revealed as much about the changing nature of the automotive manufacturing industry and its suppliers as he did about British politics.

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Bridgestone pulling away at the top of global tyre manufacturer rankings

Bridgestone pulling away at the top of global tyre manufacturer rankings

3rd July 2019 | 0 Comments

This month’s magazine includes our annual leading tyre manufacturers table (click here for more). Ranking the world’s biggest and big tyre firms in this way gives everyone a baseline reference for gauging different firms’ performance and – if previous years are anything to go by – it can be a real conversation starter as well.

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Do tariffs and trade wars work?

Do tariffs and trade wars work?

5th June 2019 | 0 Comments

At the time of going to press, the President of the United States of America is mid-way through a state visit to the UK. Before he even landed on British soil, President Donald Trump stirred up controversy by tweeting his disparaging thoughts about London Mayor Sadiq Kahn. Whatever view one might hold about the propriety of Trump’s visit, we all know that 31-gun salutes and tea with the queen are about more than niceties. Sure enough less than 24 hours into the state visit, presidential talk turned to trade, with Trump backing out-going Prime Minister Theresa May to complete Brexit negotiations and promising a “phenomenal” trade deal between the US and UK. But all this is set against the backdrop of all-out trade war between the US and China at the same time that Europe is involved in somewhat more Cold War-esque trade skirmishes with China as well. The questions are: do such measures work? And what do they mean for the tyre business?

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Can artificial intelligence reduce warranty claims?

Can artificial intelligence reduce warranty claims?

9th May 2019 | 0 Comments

At the start of April 2019, Bridgestone formally completed its billion-dollar acquisition of TomTom Telematics. The goal – as ever – is to capitalise on the benefits of big data, leveraging its usefulness in the cause of better tyres and greater efficiency for all stakeholders. Of course, Bridgestone is not the only tyremaker seeking to make the most of tyre data. Many have invested significantly in developing cyber tyres over the course of the last 10 to 15 years, harnessing the fact that tyres are a vehicles’ only point of contact with the road and therefore the only means of generating real-time road surface:vehicle contact data. This same approach also yields tyre condition and performance data, which can be used for everything from motorsport to commercial fleet applications. But what about in the manufacturing process itself?

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Smell the roses – or green tea – with Continental

Smell the roses – or green tea – with Continental

16th April 2019 | 0 Comments

Continental isn't only in the business of making tyres and automotive systems - it also wants your new car to smell nice. The company is striving to improve mobile olfactory ambience with its Acella interior material.

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Brexit, the continuing saga

Brexit, the continuing saga

5th April 2019 | 0 Comments

We were told that 29 March was the Brexit deadline. As we go to press in the week after that deadline passed, it is clear that we don’t know either when or how we are going to Brexit. As we discussed last month, the consensus amongst analysts and the automotive industry is that there will be a massive negative impact on vehicle manufacturing (and therefore automotive suppliers) in the UK. But what else do we have to look forward to?

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Brexit OE tyre red-alert

Brexit OE tyre red-alert

11th March 2019 | 0 Comments

Is Brexit going to wreak havoc on the automotive business or is it all just another millennium bug flash-in-the-pan? If a no-deal withdrawal does spell havoc, is it going to impact the tyre business as much as the OEMs?

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Data increasingly important to future prospects in tyre and mobility sectors

Data increasingly important to future prospects in tyre and mobility sectors

11th February 2019 | 0 Comments

It is not unusual for the start of the year to be replete with corporate acquisitions. Some even happen while much of the western world is enjoying Christmas and new year holidays. While European FinTyre Distribution (EfTD) did indeed enact the latest move in its ongoing strategic purchasing programme during the 2018 holiday break, it seems that this year February was the month of choice for getting the chequebooks out, with Bridgestone, Michelin and – in the UK at least – Goodyear all announcing strategic spending. For different but connected reasons all three challenge us to consider the impact of changing mobility trends.

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Do markets dream of electric cars?

Do markets dream of electric cars?

9th January 2019 | 0 Comments

Phillip K Dick may well have been thinking far further into the future than the current popularisation of electric cars when he wrote his famous novella “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, however the rise of big data alongside electric and autonomous vehicles means the most advanced cars of today have an increasing amount in common with the artificial intelligence in the source material for the film Blade Runner.

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2018 has been ‘Up in the air’

2018 has been ‘Up in the air’

10th December 2018 | 0 Comments

When it comes to reviewing 2018, two words sum up the kinds of talking points virtually everyone has touched on this year: tariffs and Brexit. Indeed it has to be said that 2018’s two meta-themes are not entirely separate from one another. Nevertheless, both have this in common. For most of the last twelve months details of both subjects have been “up in the air”, leaving the rest of us to forecast (which often means speculate) exactly what is going on. See page 32 for further analysis of what has been going on this year as well as coverage of a couple of stories that are emblematic of these themes.

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Amazon’s increasingly influential role in tyre sales

Amazon’s increasingly influential role in tyre sales

4th October 2018 | 0 Comments

This year Amazon really stepped up its presence in the tyre space, especially in the USA where the company is now dominant across online retail in general. To be specific, a whopping 50 per cent of everything bought online is from Amazon. But these figures are not just an American phenomenon. In the UK, 33 per cent of online retail is conducted through Amazon. This makes Amazon the fifth biggest retailer in the UK, just behind the big supermarkets. The point is that, now we know Amazon is moving into the tyre space, anything that is happening in the US has resonance in the UK market as well.

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WLTP impacting tyre markets

WLTP impacting tyre markets

3rd September 2018 | 0 Comments

Introduction of the new vehicle emissions and fuel consumption test protocol, the Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) is already having an impact on what wheels and tyres are available in the market. Of course, the size of vehicle wheels and consequently tyres is hugely influential in vehicle carbon dioxide (CO2) and fuel consumption (miles per gallon – MPG) performance and in recent years there has been a trend by motor manufacturers to fit larger wheels to vehicles, including even larger rim sizes as options.

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Make tariffs great again

6th August 2018 | 0 Comments

The tyre industry has seen its fair share of import tariffs in recent years. The largest scale of these, across the widest range of products, was initiated by the US against Chinese produced car tyres in 2009. That president has been and gone since then (as have further tariffs on car tyres and OTR tyres), but still tariffs are making a huge impact on the tyre industry in the USA and beyond.

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Sainsbury’s, Asda and truck tyre tariffs

Sainsbury’s, Asda and truck tyre tariffs

12th June 2018 | 0 Comments

At the end of April the UK’s second largest supermarket Sainsbury’s announced that it is merging with the Walmart-owned Asda supermarket. The goal? To push first-placed Tesco off the top-spot and to give the newly combined chain better access to different geographic areas and consumers. Strange as it may seem at first glance, this story can be read across to the tyre market in general and the truck tyre segment in particular (click here for complete coverage on developments associated with the recently initiated European anti-Chinese truck tyre import tariffs).

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Truck tyre tariffs to end Chinese import tsunami

Truck tyre tariffs to end Chinese import tsunami

11th May 2018 | 0 Comments

The EU’s decision to implement import tariffs on Chinese-produced truck tyres marks a sea-change in both the truck tyre market in general and European governments’ approach to the subject in particular. As of the 8 May 2018, truck tyres produced in China and imported into the UK have become between 52.85 euros and 82.17 euros per tyre more expensive than before. And what’s more, with product registration having begun back in February 2018, such charges look likely to be backdated to February on tyres already sold. This cannot fail to have an enormous impact, but what exactly will it mean for the truck tyre sector?

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