According to US government-funded news service Radio Free Asia (RFA), North Korea is facing a shortage of tyres that is forcing many vehicles off the road. RFA explains that the tyre shortage results from the two-year-long border closure and trade ban with China imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19. It adds comments from sources who say domestic tyre production is “negligible” and importing these products has been “almost impossible.”
One giant leap for Michelin. The French tyre maker has taken on the challenge to develop an airless tyre to equip the future Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV). It is working on this project in conjunction with the team formed by Northrop Grumman within the framework of a tender from NASA last November. The aim for the Michelin R&D teams is to make a tyre capable of resisting the extreme conditions at the lunar pole in order to explore the lunar surface and allow a sustainable presence on the Moon in 2025, and ultimately on Mars.
Itochu: Murfitts Industries acquisition about sustainability and vertical integration
When Kwik-Fit and Stapleton’s owner ETEL announced the recent acquisition of UK tyre recycling specialist Murfitts Industries on 20 December 2021, ETEL’s owner – the Japanese Itochu Group – also shared details of its rationale for the takeover.
Itochu bids $1.7 billion for Hitachi Construction Machinery stake
Hitachi is selling around half its 51 per cent shareholding in Hitachi Construction Machinery Co Ltd for 200 billion yen (£1.271 billion; 1,524 billion euros; US$1.7 billion) to Kwik-Fit’s owner Itochu and investment fund Japan Industrial Partners, according to reports published by Nikkei on 13 January 2022. Itochu confirmed that it is “considering this matter”, but declined to give further details later the same day in a statement that read:
Hankook Technodome gains trio of safety certifications
With the attainment of three additional ‘Certifications of Exemplary Laboratories in Safety Management’, five laboratories within Hankook Tire’s R&D centre in Korea are now officially certified for excellent safety management.
Sentury Tire intends to build 523m euro Spanish tyre plant
Sentury Tire, the tyre manufacturer behind the global Landsail tyre brand, has outlined its plan to construct a 522.59 million euro car and light truck tyre plant in the Galicia region of northwest Spain. Qingdao Sentury Tire Co, Ltd’s board of directors approved the proposal to build capacity for 12 million high performance and light commercial tyres on a three-year schedule at a meeting in the last quarter of 2021, announcing this intention to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on 19 December. The company has implemented a 100 per cent owned subsidiary, Sentury Tire (Spain) Co, Ltd, via its Hong Kong trading company for the project, and wants to ramp up production in two phases; it expects the plant to reach 50 per cent capacity (six million tyres) after two years, with the second half added after three years. Sentury wants to achieve these milestones in 2024 and 2025 respectively, pending construction conditions in Spain and the availability of funding, which Sentury plans to self-raise.
Hankook Tire has announced it will provide formic acid, an eco-friendly coagulant, to rubber farmers in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. It says this measure furthers its “commitment to enhance the sustainability across its value chain for natural rubber.”
Modular wheel-arch technology specialist aims for OE EV REE-volution
With the latest SMMT data naming the Tesla Model 3 as the most popular new-car December as well as the second most popular in 2021 – no-one can deny that the era of electric vehicles is well and truly upon. However, while internal combustion engines (ICE) have generally separated engine, wheel and tyre, electric vehicles are bringing this vital mobility components closer together than ever.
Conti closes inaugural Extreme E season in exciting Dorset finale
Arriving at Bovington Camp, a military base in Dorset, for the finale of the inaugural season of electric off-road series Extreme E, the lack of noise is the first indication that this is international motorsport done differently. When the nine fully electric 550bhp Odyssey 21 SUVs enter the arena, it is in large part to the sound of wet mud displaced by exclusive tyre supplier Continental’s Extreme E tyre, which is based on the German manufacturer’s CrossContact range. Primarily targeting a broadcast and internet audience, the teams, event staff, and small number of attendees on-site mingle under canvas, watching most of the action from the circuit unfold on big screens. During the races, teams complete the switch between the male and female drivers – another indicator of how Extreme E approaches motorsport differently – in front of this area.
Unlikely to harm competition – regulator approves Michelin’s Allopneus acquisition
French competition regulator the Autorité de la concurrence has approved the Michelin Group’s move to acquire sole control over French tyre e-tailer Allopneus SAS and its subsidiaries. In a statement published on 28 December, the Autorité said it cleared the deal unconditionally in the belief that it is “not likely to harm competition.”
New Zealand: Acquisition gives NTAW a presence in fleet & retreading market
Australia-headquartered tyre wholesaler National Tyre & Wheel Limited (NTAW) has completed its acquisition of Carters Tyre Service Limited, C.O. Tire & Retreading Co. Limited and Tyre Distributors New Zealand Limited (Carters). The acquisition was made through its wholly owned subsidiary, NTAW Holdings (NZ) Limited, and completed on 7 January.
The DVSA has banned Jamie Smith of Rookhill Road, Pontefract for claiming to have ‘completed’ an MOT test and issuing a pass certificate for a Mercedes-Benz C van at a garage in West Yorkshire when it had been seized by Spanish police for not having valid tax or MOT. Smith has also been sentenced to a 12-month community order and banned from testing. According to the DVSA, the van was one of nine vehicles Smith falsely issued MOT certificates for.
Hyundai Commercial Vehicle has worked with ZC Rubber in China for some time now, and the tyre maker now reports supplying new patterns and sizes from its truck tyre ranges for various Hyundai long-haul truck models in this market. Models receiving original equipment ZC Rubber tyres include the Hyundai Hongtu EV, a fully electric light truck, and the Hyundai Xcient.
Titan International shares up 49% after market consolidation reports
What a difference a month makes. Titan International shares are trading 49 per cent higher now than they were before Christmas. The difference? The news that competitor Trelleborg is in talks with “external parties” relating to the sale of its Trelleborg Wheel Systems (TWS) industrial/OTR tyre business and subsequent market comments publish by Titan chairman Morry Taylor.