At the beginning of April Marangoni, the Italian tyre manufacturer, broadened its tyre range in the high-performance sector by seven new sizes within the product programme 2000. Top of the summer tyre series is the Zeta ESC, a low-profile tyre with a directional tread pattern approved for speeds up to 270 km/h, which had five new 17-inch sizes added. Two more sizes were introduced to the second product line, Heron, making a total of 25 sizes in aspect ratios 65, 60, 55 and 50 and speed indices from H to W. On the occasion of these new introductions Marangoni invited the European trade press to Rapallo on the Italian Riviera, where questions were answered not only about the latest additions but also about the past, present and future of Marangoni Tyre S.p.A. When all is said and done, Marangoni is a kind of outsider in tyre production matters, hoping to raise the degree of international awareness and acceptance by its presentation. The production of new tyres (the Marangoni and Stunner brands) for cars, trucks and small transporters is one of the business units of Marangoni Holding, best known for its divisions Marangoni Tread (production of materials and technology for retreading) and Marangoni Pneumatici (retreaded tyres),which last year generated a turnover of 400 billion lire. The Marangoni Tyre share of the consolidated annual turnover of the group of companies is a quarter, according to Andrea Vassura, managing director and board member of Marangoni Tyre S.p.A.
Rumours in the tyre market anticipate record sales for the Continental Group of almost 9 billion Euros for 1999, mainly due to the integration of Teves. This rise also presents a 30% increase in EBIT to around 520 million Euros. Exact figures were made available in early April.
Turnover Up, Profits Down – Nokian’s First Quarter Figures
Nokians net sales in the first three months were up 18.4% over last years figures, reaching 67 million Euros (1999 Q1: 57 million Euros). Operating profit was -4.4 m Euros (2.7 m Euros). Manufacturing made a profit of 2.9 m Euros (5.8 m Euros) while the retail chain made a loss of -6 m Euros (-2.9 m Euros).
After procuring 51 percent of Kühner (Oppenheim) in order to strengthen its market position, ContiTech now intends to acquire a further 35 percent of the company, which produces hoses for air conditioning equipment. The deal is planned to become effective 1st May.
Jim ODonnell (50) has been appointed Managing Director of BMW (GB), effective June 1. He succeeds Kevin Gaskell, who left the company in February. ODonnells former roles include Sales & Marketing Director for BMW South Africa and, most recently, Sales Director of BMW (GB).
After Goodyear gave a profit warning for the second quarter its share prices fell yesterday by 10% to US$22.5; in June 1999 the price was US$58.7. The increase in raw material costs (rubber, oil, carbon black), the failure of securing better prices and extremely competitive prices in the UK and Germany, as well as the weak Euro against the dollar are the main reasons. US economy magazines yesterday wrote about the necessity for Goodyear to make immediate drastic moves over there (meaning Europe).
The Michelin brand is strong in tyres, maps, tourist, hotel and restaurant guides. The Michelin brand name is an asset in itself, so together with The Licensing Company (TALC, London) the tyre maker will target other consumer goods markets through a licensing programme using the brand name and also Bibendum, the Michelin Man.
After profit warnings from Goodyear, and from Michelin, the tyre industry is losing credit and trust at stock exchanges all over the world. Continental has now also been downgraded from buy to Market perform.
The biennial Reifen show in Essen has grown and grown to become what is regarded as the most successful and most impressive show in Europe devoted to tyres and ancillary products. This year’s event was the 21st show and boasted 408 exhibitors – a 13% increase over 1998. 40 countries were represented at Reifen 2000. However, visitor numbers dropped 3.75% to 15,400, but this was regarded as not significant and due to a number of one-off factors rather than a sign that Reifen has begun to lose its appeal. Our review of the show includes articles on no fewer than sixty companies who were exhibiting, from all over the world and the coverage reflects the importance of what many regard as Europe’s premier tyre exhibition, and one which is attracting an increasingly global exhibitor and visitor base.
The tenth race of the Pirelli Porsche Cup in Spa has been called off because, during practice, the tyres showed dramatic failures. The Pirelli tyres, it was said, peeled like onions. Following failures in Silverstone, Barcelona and Monaco, Porsche felt compelled to cancel the race in the interest of driver safety. Porsche is blaming Pirelli for inferior production process and the use of faulty compounds.
‘Misrepresentation’ In Article Claimed By Goodyear
Goodyear claims that an article in the Washington Post entitled Explorer has higher rate of tire accidents misrepresented the role of Goodyear tyres in accidents. The article examined data from the Florida Highway Patrol used to identify potential causes of accidents and the tire-related category consisted of blow-outs and punctures. Both of these could be caused by road hazards, argues Goodyear, which has nothing to do with the manufacture and quality of the tyre. The company also says that its own claims data show no correlation between tyre performance and accidents involving Explorers.
Closure Of Bridgestone US Factory “Cannot Be Ruled Out”
Quoted in the Asian Wall Street Journal, Bridgestone President Yoichiro Kaizaki said that the companys factory in Decatur could be temporarily closed, should improvements need to be made. Mr. Kaizaki also said that permanent closure of the plant could not be ruled out.
Toyota, Nissan, and other Japanese motor manufacturers are reporting strong growth in global production for the first half of the year. This comes amid massive restructuring of the industry as European and American manufacturers take shares in Japanese businesses. However, the growth figures are tempered by across the board decreased in production in September, suggesting signs of a slowdown in the market.
Goodyear has got on well with their integrated truck service concept, as stated by the group. Whereas, by the end of last year, 65 partners have been using this Goodyear service for commercialising truck tyres, the figure has currently raised up to 90, which means another step closer to the target of an area-wide service network in Germany. As estimated by Frank Titz, Manager Sales & Marketing Truck Tires at Goodyear Germany, around 150 service points will be necessary, of which 120 are already covered by their 90 partners. Because of continuing merging activities within the forwarding business, foreign markets have to be considered, too. All big freight vehicle fleets are on the road all over Europe, so that service may not end at the frontiers, Titz is explaining the motivation for the European-wide extension of the concept, named Truck Force. By the end of 2001, we want to be represented at all main international traffic arteries, either from Portugal/Spain to Scandinavia and from France versus Eastern Europe. Advantages are not only suggested for trade, but for Goodyear itself, of course. In fact, according to Titz, in Germany more than 50 per cent of all new truck tyres have been sold so far by their partners.