Automechanika – the International Trade Fair for Car Workshop and Service Station Equipment, Automobile Spare Parts Accessories – has set a new exhibitor record: 3,909 exhibitors occupied all of the approx. 300,000 square metres of indoor and outdoor exhibition space to present their latest products and technical innovations. The almost three percent increase in exhibitor numbers was the result of growth in the number of German exhibitors. 67 percent of all exhibitors came from outside Germany. The top five exhibitor nations were Germany and Italy, followed by Taiwan, the USA and Great Britain. The exhibition ran from 6 to 10 September 2000 and Messe Frankfurt welcomed around 150,000 trade visitors from all over the world during the five days of the fair, where exhibitors took many orders and transacted a lot of business. In contrast to this positive attitude at the trade fair, the background situation of the market does not look that good: The car boom of previous years came to a sudden end this year. The EU-Commission in Brussels is thinking about ending the exclusive distributor networks of car retailers. Parallel to this the car manufacturers - especially Ford and Mercedes-Benz – are restructuring their distributor networks, which means that they are reducing the number of their retailers. The pressure on the suppliers exerted by the car producers continues to increase and as a result they are showing a stronger interest in the aftermarket business. Furthermore Goodyear/Dunlops daughter company Pneumant was the fist tyre producer for several years to have a booth at the Automechanika. However, it is doubtful that this is the first example of a growing trend, as the Reifen exhibition, central event of the European tyre world, was held just a few months ago and it is to be considered that - in contrast to the alloy wheel business - the target audience of the tyre manufacturers is most probably not those who attend the Automechanika. In NEUE REIFENZEITUNG 10/2000 we review the show.
Fondmetal Boss Sells the Majority of His F1 Racing Team
The owner of the well-known Italian aluminium wheel factory, Gabriele Rumi, with 68% has sold the majority of the Minardi Formula 1 racing team to US-media conglomerate Panamerican Sports Network, but still retains 30% of the shares.
Bridgestone/Firestones chief executive in the USA, John Lampe, has said that the company has not found a defect in its recalled tyres, but he did say that there was a safety issue with a small percentage. Lampes definition of a defect is something you can point to and say there is the cause and we havent been able to find a cause or combination of causes. He added that he believes the tyres only pose a safety problem when fitted to Ford Explorers.
Michelin and TRW Automotive Electronics have agreed to develop advanced tyre pressure monitoring technology, hand in hand with Michelins PA System Technology. The companies displayed their linked technology . The technology is being displayed at the Convergence 2000 International Congress on Transportation Electronics, being held in Detroit. The TRW system will give drivers advance knowledge of underinflation and allow them to remedy the fault before pressure falls to a dangerous level. In the event of a fast puncture the PAX system ensures the tyre stays on the wheel. The TRW system uses a sensor mounted in a high tec valve that sends details by radio signal to the on board control unit. The agreement will see both companies working towards the most effective method of alerting the driver to possible problems.
Bridgestone Firestone has announced that it has provided customers with 5.5 million P235/75R15 ATX, ATXII and some Wilderness AT tires in under four months of the recall process. The firm also advised that there are sufficient stocks of new tyres to replace the outstanding numbers of tyres under the recall - waiting lists in most areas have now been eliminated. It had originally been thought that it would take a full year to reach this stage in the recall. According to John Lampe , CEO at Bridgestone Firestone Inc., No major automotive recall has achieved such significant results in so short a period (...). The next step is to determine the root causes of the problem that led to the recall.
World renowned photographer Mario Testino visited locations in Naples for the Pirelli Calendar 2001. This years format will feature 12 of the worlds top models in the usual alluring poses in natural settings around the famous Italian coastal city.
Kwik-Fit is to buy Silver Shield Screens Ltd, the automotive glass repair and replacement company. Silver Shield has 57 branches and 225 company-owned and franchised mobile fitting vehicles, providing a 24-hour windscreen repair and replacement service. The purchase price was £6 million, with up to another £2 million, dependent on future events. Silver Shield is number three in its market, with annual sales of more than £20 million.
At a dealer conference in Las Vegas, Goodyear Chief Gibara explained to an audience of 4,500 tyre people the need for consolidation in 2000, following the recent aggressive expansion strategy. Gibara pointed out the importance of the personal touch despite the fast growth of e-commerce and the Internet. The fill-rate problem will be improved through shipments from Latin America, Eastern Europe and Turkey for the US replacement market.
Bridgestone has won Porsches Supplier award for 1999. The tyre company was also assessed by Porsche as Top Best for product quality and delivery; the only tyre manufacturer to achieve this ranking. The award was presented to Michael Conrad, OE sales manager for Bridgestone/Firestone Deutschland, and Stephen Rambow, engineering account manager in charge of Porsche affairs, at a ceremony attended by senior representatives of Europes auto industry.
Membership of the German tyre retailers association BRV (Bundesverband Reifenhandel und Vulkaniseur Handwerk) reached record levels in January, when 82 new tyre retailers joined. The association now has 1,115 members with 1,443 outlets, which represents around 73 per cent of the 3,500 tyre dealers in Germany.
The Anderson Consulting Supplier Index recently carried out a survey to establish the most stable and competitive US automotive suppliers and ranked Hayes-Lemmerz joint second alongside Federal Mogul. Top performer was Tower Automotive.
Meritor Automotive, a subsidiary of the Rockwell group, has announced the expansion of production at its wheel plant in San Luis Potosi (Mexico) to two million units annually. The expansion is necessary because of increased demand in the North American OE market for light truck and pick-up wheels and includes the completion of assembly facilities. A major consumer is Daimler Chrysler (Dodge Ram).
The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has announced that Michelin intends to shed 1,800 jobs out of a total of 28,700 at its four plants in France according to the companys restructuring plan. Most of them will be achieved by early retirements but approximately 100 employees will have to leave the company involuntarily.
Significant progress has been made in the management and disposal of scrap tyres in the USA, says Terry Noteboom, senior environmental engineer for Goodyear. Last year over 71% of the 272 million scrap tyres generated in the US was recovered, exceeding the recovery rates for aluminium, glass and paper.