In the USA, General Tire has begun a recall of 4,750 truck tyres, produced between December 1998 and February 1999. A Continental Group spokesman pointed out that the company is not acting under any legal obligation, and the move is a precautionary one.
John Gurrieri, CEO of South Pacific Tyres for five years, is leaving the company at the end of February after 29 years service to seek new challenges. South Pacific Tyres is a 50/50 joint venture between the Pacific Dunlop group and Goodyear.
Construction work is set to begin this month on a new power station which will burn 65,000 tonnes of scrap tyres annually. It is sited at Four Ashes in Staffordshire and is due to become fully operational in January 2002. The total cost will be around 332.4 million.
At the beginning of February, German tyre dealers and the tyre industry signed an agreement that will introduce EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) as the uniformed system of electronic communication between the two business partners throughout the country.
Michelin and its local joint-venture partner Siam Cement has announced an investment of THB 3,82 billion in their Laem Chabang production plant near Bangkok. The development will double the capacity to 6.12 million passenger and light truck tyres a year. Michelin Siam also operate an additional two plants in Thailand providing production of truck, earthmover and motorcycle tyres.
Robert McEniry (52) has been named as Chief Executive Officer of the Tyre Unit in which Pacific Dunlop and Goodyear each hold a 50% stake. John Gurrieri gave up his post in February to seek new challenges.
German Insurer “Allianz” To Sponsor Formula 1 Team
The German insurance company Allianz wants to become involved in Formula 1. As the newspaper Die Welt announced recently, Aliens wants to sponsor the Williams-BMW team. Already with the coming German Grand Prix in two weeks at the Nürburgring, the company label will be on the racing car of the British team. It was mentioned that the insurance intends to invest 50 million DM (£16.3 million) in the team of Ralf Schuhmacher and Jensen Button.
The turnover of the motorcycle tyre division of Pirelli Germany (brands: Metzeler & Pirelli) in 1999 amounted to 94.9 million Euro; 1.4 p.c. more than the previous year. In motorcycle tyre terms, Pirelli is the market leader in Germany, Italy and Europe as a whole.
Hayes Lemmerz sales and earnings in the first quarter 2000 were at the same level as last year. A significant drop in orders for heavy truck wheels and brake components was compensated by a successful expansion of aluminium wheel capacity worldwide.
Michelins turnover increased during the first half of the year 2000 by 14% to 7.4 bn Euro but despite this fact Ebit will be much lower than the first six months of last year (611 million Euro). Yesterday the company only announced sales figures and will give more details in September.
Firestone has been forced, for the second time in the companys history, to recall tyres in North America. 22 years ago, the recall of 14 million f 500 tyres, almost ruined Firestone. The current situation refers to the recall of 6.5 million SUV tyres, the ATX, ATX II, and Wilderness line in the size P 235/75 R 15. About 2/3 of these tyres are earmarked for Fords OE demand for the Ford Explorer and the Ford Ranger. Bridgestone already announced that it would take a one-time $ 350 million charge and informed analysts that earnings estimates, $1 billion before the recall situation, had to be reduced by the amount of the taken charge. Whether this is the only financial impact that BFS will have to encounter is more than doubtful. In the US a horde of consumer advocates stand ready to sue BFS, all in the name of consumer advocacy. The likely cost of litigation is not included in the $ 350 million charge. The extent of the damage to BFS and its Firestone brand cannot be evaluated, it remains to be seen how the entire industry will be affected by this recall. Without any doubt, the Firestone brand has suffered a serious blow despite the fact that up until today it has not been demonstrated that the tyres were the cause of accidents investigated by NHTSA. BFS, so it seems, never really had a chance to manage the ensuing crisis in an optimal way. Although the crisis didnt hit BFS completely out of the blue, BFS had to take into consideration the interests of its largest OE customer Ford on the one hand, and its own interest to protect the Bridgestone brand from any spill-over effects. One thing became abundantly clear: two kinds of tyre manufacturers currently exist. One the one hand, there are those who have already had to deal with a disastrous recall situation and on the other hand are those that will have to do just that at some uncertain time in the future.