The future of Nissans plant at Sunderland, UK will be decided by the company in. It hinges on whether the plant is chosen to build the new Micra, but Chief Operating Officer and President Carlos Ghosn has hinted that costs may force the group to make the car in France or Spain.
Cost-Cutters Instead Of Architects – Goodyear Facing The Year 2001
There was much celebration when Goodyear announced its joint venture with Dunlop, designed to make the group the biggest in the world. Since then, things not been going according to plan, with Goodyears share price plummeting. A new president has been appointed and an in-depth article in our January issue which can be downloaded in full length as PDF file (size: 1.20 Mbytes, Adobe Acrobat Reader required) argues that the group desperately needs to reorganise and change the way that decisions are made, to get closer to the market and to re-define areas of responsibility. An increase in size has brought inflexibility and a slowness to react, which is stifling the companys chances of future growth. Our article suggests one possible solution to this problem, but it is one which will involve a radical change of philosophy and methods of operation.
Former F1-Minardi driver Marc Gene has become a test driver at the BMW-Williams team due to his extensive experience in testing new tyre developments. BMW-Williams will start on Michelin tyres next season.
Pirelli: Investments In Telecommunications And Internet
According to Italian financial analysts Pirelli will use the US$ 2.15 bn received from the purchase by Cisco of their Terrestrial Optical Networking Systems for investments in telecommunications and the Internet.
Frank Jung (40) will take over as Managing Director at the Conti subsidiary Vergölst, following the departure of Andreas Scheiba. Jung was previously responsible in-house for the German tyre replacement business at Continental.
Italian brand Melber had to leave the German aftermarket for alloy wheels last year. In co-operation with Euro Consulting and sales manager Josef Holder the company is now planning a relaunch of the brand in the German market.
The Australian Conglomerate, Pacific Dunlop Ltd., cannot reach its income figure from 1998 of A$ 188m. In the first half of 1999 the company reached a net income of A$74.5m compared with A$ 101.7 million for the first six half of 1998.
It seems that BMWs CEO Joachim Milberg may be close to being dismissed. The German magazine stern reports that the major shareholder - the Quandt family - has lost confidence in Milberg due to his mis-handling of the problems associated with daugther company Rover. The BMW boss also left many questions unanswered at a press conference on 17th March. For example, he and his colleagues neglected to mention the planned sale of Land Rover to Ford. Milberg also responded with no comment to the question why had three colleagues been forced to leave the company over the Rover fiasco when Milberg himself and the boss of the Supervisory Board Doppelfeld had been the ones responsible? The Quandt family owns over 40% of BMWs shares and they have said that they would never entertain a take-over bid for the company. In the light of recent events, many people are sceptical of such statements.
Pirelli’s truck tyre division generated a 1999 turnover of 466 million Euro and an EBIT of approximately 38 million Euro (eight per cent of turnover). For the current year the division has set itself the firm target of breaking the 500-million-euro barrier. The commercial vehicle tyre business accounts for almost 20 p.c. of Pirelli’s tyre turnover, in which the truck tyre factory in Alexandria/Egypt plays a key role. (The group also has commercial vehicle tyre production in Settimo Torinese/Italy, Izmit/Turkey and Santo André/Brazil). The enterprise started in 1990 with a mere 11 p.c. Pirelli participation in the 150 million dollar investment. And even that was not in hard cash but in know-how about building a new truck tyre factory and research and development data for the product. Other investors were local, both private and public finance consortiums. As Egyptian legislation was liberalised, it became possible for the Italians to increase their share to 60 p.c. by capital raising measures and to take the industrial leadership. Only two years after the start of building the first truck tyre was produced at the Alexandria factory. In 1995 the annual capacity was 100,000 truck tyres, today 330,000. In two investment stages capacity is to be increased to 550,000 tyres in the short term and to 800,000 tyres per year by 2003. But the plans do not only involve volume growth; new products are also part of the project, for instance the tubed tyres FG85 and TG85 for on/off application in Africa and the Middle East, introduced on the Truck Tyre Day 2000. The total investment plan is for 140 million Euro. Currently only a third of the truck tyres produced in Alexandria go to export, but in future exports will account for about half the output. Read more in NEUE REIFENZEITUNG 5/2000.
It was at the beginning of 1999 when Trelleborg Wheel Systems UK was formed as a result of the joint venture between Trelleborg and Pirelli’s agricultural tyre division. Clive Thawley is the managing director of the UK company and, in our article, he and product manager Robert Hughes talked of the first year or so since the merger; a year of consolidation and of learning. The changes not only affected the sales staff, who had to get to grips with a suddenly-expanded product range, but the customers wanted to know what was happening, and why. By keeping customers fully informed, Trelleborg Wheel Systems ensured that the reaction was a positive one. It is no secret that agriculture in the UK is facing a very tough time, and the possible consequences for a company that specialises in agricultural tyres are obvious. Fortunately, Trelleborg Wheel Systems has contracts with a number of original equipment manufacturers, for both Trelleborg and Pirelli brands. What of competition, especially with Sterling as high as it is? While it is true that some cheaper, imported tyres are finding their way on to the market, many farmers buy on benefits and value for money, rather than price alone. For these customers, the benefits of a premium brand outweigh the higher initial cost. The past year or so has been a period of integration and learning for Trelleborg Wheel Systems, and now the company is poised to reap the benefits of its hard preparation work. Read more in TYRES & ACCESSORIES 5/2000.
Beginning in 2001, Continental Teves of North America will supply Fords and Mazdas sports utility vehicles Escape and Tribute with complete brake systems, amounting to approximately 250.000 units a year.