Chinese Retreading Volumes to Grow 30% This Year – CRI
According to Shanghai based research company China Research and Intelligence (CRI), increased vehicle numbers are causing scrap tyre levels in China to grow at a rate of 10 to 20 per cent per annum. Last year, CRI reports, more than 200 million tyres in China reached the end of their useful lifespan, yet only 11.5 million were retreaded.
Online Retailers Amongst Those Supporting Tyre Labelling Rules
On April 22 the European Parliament approved – by a large majority – a number of draft measures that will see tyre performance in fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise levels explained on a standardised label attached to new tyres. The new rating system, pencilled in for implementation by late 2012, will use a scale similar to that utilised on the EU Energy Label or “fridge mark” as it has affectionately been dubbed.
Now that the tyre labelling measures first published in November have been approved, it has been proposed that tyres generating particularly low levels of noise be given an extra insignia, imprinted on the outer sidewall. Another proposed change is an upping of the level of information provided in tyre advertisements – the aim is to better inform consumers and provide a stimulus for the development of safer and more environmentally friendly tyres. However, specific details of the labelling scheme have yet to be finalised, and the draft text still awaits the scrutiny of the Council of Ministers, the body representing the 27 EU member states.
Global sales of passenger car and commercial vehicle tyres may decline to 1.32 billion units in 2009 from 1.41 billion last year, said No Dock Moung, an analyst with the Singapore based International Rubber Study Group. The drop of almost 6.4 per cent would be the steepest since at least 1975, he said. And according to a Singapore based trading manager from Marubeni Corp., Japan’s largest rubber trading company, this could lead to natural rubber prices weakening by as much as 35 per cent.
Tyres & Accessories sister publication Neue ReifenZeitung recently published reports that Continental has been considering moving its truck tyre production East and linking it with certain Russian tyre makers in the wake of the announced closure of its high tech Hannover-Stoecken truck tyre production plant. For a number of years the Russian tyre manufacturer Nizhnekamskshina has worked together with Continental within the framework of a technical agreement, having previously been involved in a technical partnership with Pirelli. The possibility of forming a 50:50 joint venture has been talked about since 2007, however to date the entire result of this joint effort is that the Russians are building a truck tyre factory and Continental is “only” contributing know-how and organising production processes, as well as delivering all the required equipment. The target is said to be for production capacity to exceed one million all-steel tyres per annum.
GfK Asia is planning to expand its market research coverage to include tyre reports in China, Korea and Malaysia, followed by Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand at a later stage. The Korean market information is scheduled to be processed first with Malaysia following after that. In the first instance the reports will specifically focus on the tyre market with a view to exploring engine oil and other spare parts markets in the future.
GfK Korea, a subsidiary of GfK Asia, is to record data from 4400 shops across five regions (Seoul, Inchon, Kyunggi, Kyungbuk, Kyungnam). Meanwhile GfK Malaysia’s survey analyses the sales of the 17,800 spare parts shops, garages and tyre specialists that serve the pool of more than 12 million motorcycles, passenger and commercial vehicles. GfK Malaysia will launch its first passenger car tyre retail tracking report in June 2009 and the company hopes to expand both studies as the reports gain momentum.
Deestone: A Successful Entry into Radial Production
Thai based commercial and two-wheel vehicle tyre specialist Deestone, through the founding of the new company Deestone Radial Tire Co. and the establishment of a new factory, has set foot into market territory held by the “Big Three”. The Thai radial tyre market, like almost every other around the world, is dominated by Bridgestone, Michelin and Goodyear. Yet the decision makers at Deestone Ltd. are losing no sleep over the position their own passenger car and light commercial vehicle radials hold in the domestic market – only two years after the opening of the company’s first radial tyre factory, its Thai market share has grown to five per cent. As Deestone’s business development manager Noppadol Nimdee explained during Tyrexpo Asia, this market share is expected to further increase.
Pirelli Researching the Use of Rice Husk Ash in Tyre Compounds
From an ecological point of view, the new Pirelli Cinturato P7 offers three headline benefits - a CO2 emission reduction of up to 4 grams per kilometre driven, 30 per cent lower noise emissions and a 4 per cent fuel saving. Pirelli’s clincher (particularly aimed at current and potential OE customers) is that it is already in position to meet the targets set by the new EU regulations that are due to take effect from 2011 and that it does this without compromising on wet or dry performance. However, none of this explains how the company is able to achieve these goals.
In mid-February, Pirelli gave details of how its 2009 – 2011 industrial plan means the company will have an increasingly “green” focus. In particular Pirelli committed to developing a series of new materials that for use in tyre compounds. One particular silica rich material is rice husk ash (RHA). Pirelli is already (as far as the technological requirements are concerned) in a position to use this material in tyre production this year. However, the material is currently the subject of a large scale viability study focusing on the availability of the kind of tonnages needed for tyre industral scale tyre manufacturing. Tyres & Accessories understands that Pirelli already has research and development teams in place in Brazil and the areas surround Milan, which just happen to be some of the best rice production areas in the world.
In 2005 Point S operated in nine different European countries. Four years later it is almost double that. Currently the group consists of 1700 tyre outlets, run by 1000 different owners, commanding a 6 per cent retail market share in both the passenger car and truck tyre segments across Europe. Since the first Point S was opened in 1971, the network has used the same business model in every country its has grown into – allowing independent tyre entrepreneurs to control their business while allowing everyone to benefit from the strong brand and economies of scale that come with a large group.
However, the group’s private brand strategy is also a key part of the company’s business and by the time Point S development announced that the France-based international tyre retail group had expanded into Bulgaria (its 17th country) in January 2009, this part of the business had become an exemplary model in the tyre market. Tyres & Accessories recently interviewed Point S Development’s international operations director, Fabien Bouquet, and found out why private brands are so important.
When is a price cut not a price cut? Answer: when international tyre imports and global exchange rates are involved. This month a number of Chinese tyre factories lowered their gate prices in response to the recent easing of raw material costs. Combined with decreases in shipping costs, you’d think this would result in cheaper tyres for mature markets. However, according to industry sources, if the mature market you had in mind was the UK – or most of Europe for that matter – you would be wrong.
Aeolus Tyres, for example, apparently became the first tyre maker to openly cut its rates, saying it was aiming to send a clear signal that as a “runner-up among major tyre brands,” it is taking the lead in terms of pricing. Clearly the idea here was for the economy tyre producer to steal a march on the premium tyre manufacturers that are fighting hard not to cut product prices, despite market analysts’ predictions that the days of price increases are over and the opposite is likely, and take advantage of raw material price stabilisation.
Amongst the announcements made upon the public release of the Nokian Tyres 2008 financial statement is news that the company’s joint venture in Kazakhstan has been put on hold. The project with Ordabasy Corporation, agreed upon in 2007, has been paused by mutual agreement, Nokian reports. The company adds that the project may be re-launched, at the earliest, in late 2010. An agreement has been made to return an advance payment of 12 million euros, made for technical support, to Ordabasy.
Australia’s JAXQuickfit Tyres Celebrating 60th Anniversary in 2009
Australian tyre retailer JAXQuickfit Tyres is marks its 60th anniversary in 2009, and in this diamond jubilee year the company is also celebrating its third consecutive year of double-digit growth. From humble beginnings in 1949, Jax Tyre, as it was then known, has developed into AUD$100 million a year business with a network of 72 outlets throughout Australia. And having covered much of its home market, JAXQuickfit says it is now looking at expansion overseas.
Bottom Dropped Out of Loadstar Order Books, Says Chairman
Sales have decreased – substantially – for Sri Lanka based manufacturer of solid tyres, Loadstar. At a recent forum, company chairman Nihal Jinasena admitted that “the bottom has dropped out of our order books.” And further compounding Loadstar’s problems are the costly forward deals for raw materials the company is locked into.
President elect Barack Obama’s brand spanking new presidential limousine has been given the ‘Pimp My Ride’ treatment by the US Secret Service – and a set of tyres normally seen in regional haul trucking applications is but one of a basket of features to be found on the modified Cadillac following a masterful makeover by the White House appointed customisers.
Despite campaign promises to transform all White House vehicles into hybrids and have a million hybrid vehicles on US roads by 2015, the President-elect has had to concede to security concerns and stick with the petrol powered Cadillac. Or perhaps he was simply afraid Jeremy Clarkson would heckle him on the next series of Top Gear.
Shanghai Baolong Automotive Corporation is one of the leading manufacturers of non-lead balancing weights in China. It boasts certificated products and names Chinese Ford, Nissan and Volkswagen branches among its customers.
Established in 1998, Shanghai Baolong is a leading manufacturer of wheel balancing weights for automobiles in China. It specializes in producing all types of wheel balance weights, especially non-lead wheel balance weights. The company uses the zinc and steel blend that is more environmentally-friendly and complies with European and U.S. directives. They are designed and produced for vehicles with either steel or alloy wheels, with the same functionality, appearance, and fit characteristics as conventional wheel weights.
A US importer warned consumers on December 9 that they should check the stem valves on their vehicle’s tyres, after it became apparent that 1.8 million Chinese made tyre stem valves sold in the country may prematurely weather and crack, resulting in a loss of tyre pressure. According to North Carolina based Dill Air Controls Products, the problem is with two batches of valves totalling about 198,000 units, but because the valve stems are not traceable by lot number after installation, the recall involves all valves sold between November 2006 and July 2007.