The Siam cement Group is to reduce its shareholding in the Michelin Siam Group from 50 per cent to 40 in order to concentrate on its core business. The shares will be purchased by Michelin, the other partner in the joint venture, giving it a 60 per cent stake. Michelin Siam has three factories in Thailand, plus a tyre mould making plant and a steel cord factory. The company makes Michelin brand tyres for vehicles from motorcycles to aircraft.
Michelin has introduced a new initiative in the UK, aimed at supplying a single source, total tyre life package for fleet customers. Called Encore, the new service introduces a retreading facility for Remix tyres and the possibility of retreading new tyres from competitors. The retreads will be branded Encore and will only be available for fleet customers and not on retail sale. Further details are available in November’s TYRES & ACCESSORIES. The company has made ‘substantial’ investments at Stoke-on-Trent, including a new, independent retreading facility, in an attempt to woo fleet business. Encore will only be available to those customers who buy Michelin tyres as new, as the whole aim of the scheme is to increase sales of new Michelin tyres. For fleet customers, product alone is no longer enough, as they are demanding more in the way of services and tyre management. Encore gives Michelin a greater measure of control and enables the company to offer a ‘new to scrap’ tyre management service.
Brake specialist Continental Teves has developed an electronic system that takes over the function of the handbrake when driving up a hill or mountain. The drive up help will go into production in the year 2002 and functions as follows. When the driver has stopped the car and presses the clutch, the brake system automatically builds up the exact brake pressure needed in order to prevent the car from rolling back on a slope. When driving resumes, the electronic system measures the brake pressure and ensures a smooth start without any jerks.
Dunlop Ceases Truck Tyre Manufacture At Birmingham
Dunlop Tyres UK announced today that it will cease truck tyre manufacturing at its Birmingham factory. 650 jobs from a total workforce of 1,700 will be affected. Car, light truck, motor sport and racing tyres will still be made at the plant. Dunlop says the move is part of a Europe-wide rationalisation process as a result of excess capacity in the European tyre industry and the current market situation.
The association VDA has calculated that 3.8 million new cars were registered 1999 in Germany; 2% more than in 1998. The association is expecting a decline in registrations for the year 2000 of between 2 and 5%.
James Fish becomes Goodyear’s Vice President Global Human Resources
Effective today, W. James Fish, formerly executive director of human resources customer operations at the Ford Motor Company, becomes Goodyears senior vice president, global human resources, reporting to Sam Gibara, chairman, chief executive officer and president
After the STW race series, the new European Roadster Challenge (EUROC) is also under threat. As it seems that the German Touring Car Championship (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft) will be successfully revived this year, well-known drivers anticipated to take part in EUROC have begun to look elsewhere at the last minute. Who will be equipping the Touring Car Championship teams with tyres is also not yet clear, although an exclusive contract is talked of, with auto motor und sport magazine already naming Dunlop. On the other hand the involvement of the Michelin subsidiary BFGoodrich in the EUROC series seems to have come to nothing even before the first race, unless Bernie Ecclestone can be persuaded to allow these cars, in which immense sums have already been invested, to take part in the Formula One circus.
At a special ceremony in Seoul, Korea, Woosung Tire Corporation has now announced that from 10th February they would be known as Nexen Tire Corporation. The companys new corporate identity will be made public in the near future.
In 1999 Continental’s turnover and EBIT only rose around 35 % while for the same year a 70% increase in net profits to 234.7 million Euros (1998: 138.2 million Euros) is reported. Therefore Conti boss Dr. Stephan Kessel is some kind of disappointed and astonished with regard to the performance of the company’s shares. May this be another reason why Continental has revealed that it would float its shares on the New York Stock Exchange some time within the next three to five years?
Michelin India Private Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Maharashtra to acquire a block of land at Talegon in the Pune district. No time scale for the start of construction has been decided.
The news that BMW was going to sell its loss-making (1999 losses alone were 1 billion Euros) subsidiary Rover provoked an understandably strong reaction in Britain. Some estimated that 50,000 jobs (including those of suppliers) could be lost and BMW’s name was mud with workers, unions and the British Government, which accused BMW of lying. Undeterred, BMW began breaking up the Rover group, selling Land Rover to Ford for 3 billion Euros and the Longbridge car factory to venture capitalists Alchemy Partners, with BMW writing off debts of £2 million. BMW is retaining the factory at Cowley, where the new Mini will be made. Alchemy plans to re-name Rover as MG Cars and to move away from volume production to make sports cars and sports saloons. This would keep the Longbridge factory open, but with a much reduced workforce. Amid the thousands of paragraphs criticising BMW, some industry pundits have questioned the vulnerability of the German group and there are rumours of larger companies (VW and Ford are two who have been mentioned) sniffing around BMW. The major shareholder in BMW is the Quandt family, whose members insist that the company will remain independent. More details in the April issue of TYRES & ACCESSORIES.
Paul Harrell, the MD of Dunlop-owned retail chain Motorway, has been appointed General Manager, Retail operations UK by the Goodyear group. In his new role he will be responsible for the operations of both Motorway and Goodyears Hi-Q retail chain.
Automotive suppliers Meritor, among other things one of the worlds largest steel wheel producers, and Arvin Industries will merge to form ArvinMeritor. The companies have combined revenues of $ 7.5 bn. The new company will create a premier global supplier of integrated systems, modules and components. Meritor shareholders will receive approximately 65.8 percent.