At Last The Number One Again – “Goodyear, All Systems Go!”
Imagine the scene; Goodyear chairman Sam Gibara addresses an audience of 144 leading managers from around the world, telling them of Goodyears ambition to be not only the worlds biggest tyre manufacturer, but also the most profitable. He tells them of the reasons behind the Dunlop joint ventures and spells out the goals for which the Goodyear family has to strive to achieve the companys aims. What lies in store for Goodyear? Does size matter? What changes are needed in management attitudes, distribution policy and brand strategies if Goodyear is to be the best? How important is the adoption of a mullet-brand strategy in the various world-wide markets? These and other thought-provoking questions are discussed at length. As we said earlier, imagine the scene. The truth is there was no meeting in Hawaii and Mr. Gibara did not make the speech - but he certainly could have. The article can be downloaded in full length as PDF file (size: 2.84 Mbyte, Adobe Acrobat Reader required).
Michelin Pilot Primacy – Second Generation for this Growth Segment
With the new Michelin Pilot Primacy, introduced to the trade press at the beginning of March and available through the trade this spring in a total of 33 sizes, the company intends to strengthen further its dominant role as original equipment supplier of high-performance tyres. Dynamic market development can be observed in all European states in this exacting segment, sometimes up to double-digit annual growth rates. Michelin, too, puts its faith in significant growth in this segment by introducing the second generation of the Pilot family, up-dated by the Primacy, a tyre conceived for original equipment but later also to be supplied to the refit market. The new tyre was specially designed for the requirements of high-mileage drivers, who expect not only safety reserves but also a high level of comfort during frequently long journeys in their fast top and upper medium-class cars. Among the car manufacturers’ specifications highest priority has been given to weight reduction, safety, ride comfort and easy handling. In the April issue of NEUE REIFENZEITUNG you can learn more about how Michelin wants to meet these requirements.
There are rumours in the market that the industry will raise tyre prices – maybe even this week – to cover increases in raw materials (rubber, oil, carbon black). As production capacities have been expanded during the last 24 months, it is doubted whether any increase will stick due to market pressure.
Despite a slight fall in new car registrations in France during April, the market so far this year has risen 6% compared to 1999. French manufacturers have done exceptionally well, with Renault sales up 6% and Peugeot up 12%. Not so happy in April were Fiat (down 28%) and Ford (down 25%).
Bridgestone is to join Goodyear, Continental, Michelin, Cooper, Pirelli, Yokohama and others in raising tyre prices in the USA to compensate for raw material price increases. Effective June 1st, Bridgestone tyre prices will rise 4%. Historically, Bridgestone has taken advantage of other manufacturers price increases in order to gain market share, so this latest announcement seems to indicate that this time the price rises will stick.
The sale of Land Rover to Ford by BMW – a deal which was in doubt recently – has been finalised. BMW agreed to Fords stipulation that one third of the asking price of 3 bn Euros will not be paid until the year 2005.
Over the years the Stahlgruber group and its international subsidiaries has sold tens of thousands of items of capital equipment to the tyre industry. The company feels that consolidation in the equipment manufacturing industry has led to a narrowing of sourcing opportunities and a consequent adverse effect on price and customer choice. The answer was to form a ‘Best Enterprise Alliance’ in which a number of companies group together to form a product range, based on their individual areas of expertise. These companies are Stahlgruber, Butler (the Stahlgruber-owned manufacturer of tyre changers), Cemb, Hunter and Rotary Lifts. Butler will make a range of tyre changers, called Promont, and Cemb a range of wheel balancers, called Probalance, which will be exclusive to Stahlgruber and its subsidiaries. Hunter wheel alignment equipment and Rotary lifts will also be sold. Stahlgruber will continue to sell Butler tyre changers alongside the Promont range. Further information on what the alliance means to the companies involved, and of the ‘own name’ ranges of machines can be found in TYRES & ACCESSORIES 6/2000.
Degussa-Hüls AG is doubling capacity at one of its production plants in Antwerp, Belgium for sulphur-functionalised organosilanes. These rubber silanes are used as coupling components when precipitated silicas are used as fillers to reinforce rubber. Together with rubber silanes and rubber carbon blacks, precipitated silicas are the major component in Green Tyres which feature reduced rolling resistance and thus help to cut fuel consumption.
Even more so than the original symbol of tyre maker Goodyear – the Wingfoot – the Goodyear Blimp has become a corporate icon. In June 1925 the Pilgrim, first of what was to be hundreds of Blimps, was launched at Wingfoot Lake airship facility near Akron, still headquarters of the worlds # 1 in tyres.
Superior Industries (Van Nuys/California), North Americas Leading oe supplier of aluminium wheels, announced record revenues of more than 331 m US-$ (+13.5%) and record net income to more than 40 m US-$ (+16.3%) after tax.
The UK consumer motoring magazine Auto Express recently put ten tyre brands through a series of wet and dry braking and handling tests. Continentals PremiumContact came out on top, followed by the Vredestein Sportrac and Goodyears Eagle Ventura.
Ford Chief Executive Jacques Nasser has described the news that the recall of Firestone tyres in the USA might take until next spring as unacceptable. Originally, the recall was scheduled to take until summer, but Bridgestone/Firestone announced the revised spring time scale this week. Production of Firestone tyres has doubled and imports have been increased to meet demand. Ford is said to be considering a number of ideas to quicken the recall, including providing rental vehicles for those who are anxious about the delay.
Now Continental General Tire Responsible For 18 Deaths?
Tyre failures of the product General 52 S for the Ford Bronco are responsible for the deaths of 18 people, say lawyers in the USA who have filed a law suit against the Group. The lawyers also claim that Continental has deliberately covered up safety faults. Continental rejects all accusations and claims that it has cooperated fully with the NHTSA at all times.