How Continental Mabor is supporting the manufacturer’s agricultural ambitions
In 2016, Continental took the decision to bring back the manufacture of Conti-branded agricultural tyres under its own control. Production of Continental agricultural tyres had been carried out by Czech tyre maker Mitas from 2004, when it acquired the license, and had been due to continue until 2019. However, the acquisition of Mitas by agricultural tyre manufacturer Trelleborg Wheel Systems meant the Continental brand became surplus to requirements. Conti saw this as an early opportunity to re-enter the lucrative, high-technology agricultural tyre segment with a premium brand intended to compete at the top of the European segment and manufactured at the Continental Mabor plant in Lousado, Portugal with the help of an initial 50-million-euro investment and the recruitment of a manufacturing and R&D team.
Michelin top, Sailun the fastest riser: All change in the second half of the global tyremaker top 20
There are many changes in our latest leading tyre manufacturers ranking. The 2023 table, which lists the world’s leading tyre companies according to their full-year 2022 financial results, particularly highlights the shifts that have taken place this year in the second half of the top 20. Meanwhile, the top nine tyremakers appear to be an increasingly stable group. Between places nine and 10, there is still a gap of some 1 billion euros, something that is clearly hard to overcome for newcomers. However, as insurmountable as it appears, the gap is obviously narrowing.
Budget segment making inroads in UK high rim diameter tyre market – GfK
The long-term trends associated with the UK’s ultra-high performance tyre segment have continued to develop in line with expectations, but the latest data from market analyst GfK reveals the unspooling effects of three segment defining factors: car-makers’ increased specification of 17” and 18” tyres on mass market, sub-premium models; the broader context of the UK’s high inflation-low growth economic environment; and the rising availability of low-cost tyres from manufacturers outside the premium (and even mid-range) tier. The last of these trends show why the term “ultra-high performance tyres” (or UHP tyres) is inherently suspect, just as “performance tyres” previously became a term applied to the majority of car tyres. The data we discuss in this article refers to high rim diameter products, encompassing everything from 17” up to the specialist products pushing well into the 20s. The tyre demands of new cars in the last decade and more have trended upwards to make the lower end of this range a regulation fitment on family hatchbacks and saloons.
European imports of OTR tyres continue rapid growth trend – Astutus Research
The United Kingdom and European Union is importing an increasing tonnage of Off-The-Road (OTR) tyres, as the sector responds to internal and external trends. Externally, sinking shipping costs and relatively controlled production costs are particularly favouring Asian manufacturers. And with Russia’s war on Ukraine making the country a pariah in European trading terms, there are additional reasons to source increasing numbers of OTR tyres from South Asia. Trading relations with Russia’s closest supporter Belarus are also frosting, which could see further gains for Asian factories, while emerging tyre producing nations like Serbia could also reap the benefits. While the size, weight and per unit cost of the largest tyres could present arguments in favour of more localised production, lower manufacturing and materials costs weigh even more heavily in this balance of factors.
European car tyre imports rise despite apparent risks of offshoring production
The European passenger car and light truck tyre (PCLT) import market recovered substantially from its bout of Long Covid in the second half of 2022 as the benefits of local versus remote production took an unexpected hit. A perfect storm of significantly lower freight costs and high European energy costs nudged the dial on the relative competitiveness of imports and domestic PCLT tyre production in the second half of 2022. Looking at the European PCLT tyre market through the prism of imports, leading sector analyst Astutus Research shares with Tyres & Accessories its data demonstrating the effects of a rapidly changing market context. The latest Astutus Research briefing, ‘Supply Dynamics in the European PCLT Tire Industry to 2028’, priced at £995 is available now on Tyrepress.
Higher rim size car tyre sales rising in UK’s stratified recovery – GfK
Challenging trading conditions persist in the UK thanks to various interlocking crises, though 2022’s replacement tyre market demonstrates the way some segments resisted the strong headwinds better than others. While overall tyre sales (units) were basically flat versus 2021, any anticipated surging recovery from a pandemic induced nadir was, broadly speaking, put off for another year. Contrastingly, the value of the overall market surged, though this effect was more due to inflation and increasing prices than a switch towards higher-value products. Having said this, the picture painted by analyst GfK’s data, based on the company’s “panelmarket” of tyre retail sell-out sources from January to December, is also one of stratification.
Hankook’s European original equipment truck and trailer tyre business ‘interrupted’
A special report on a delicate situation shows why the major supplier to the European commercial vehicle tyre market made new supply agreements with contracted OEM partners, and how the period of flux could work in its favour as tender processes commence
Hankook Tire Europe’s intensive expansion of its original equipment truck tyres business over the last half-decade hit significant headwinds at the end of 2021. As a result, the manufacturer made the decision to largely discontinue corresponding deliveries at the start of 2022. Speaking to Tyres & Accessories’ sister magazine in Germany, Neue Reifenzeitung (NRZ), representatives from Hankook’s European headquarters in Neu-Isenburg were clear that the company had not withdrawn from original equipment, but that there has been an interruption, which will be followed by a “restart” in the next two years. This raises the question of how this strategic decision will be received in a shrinking market, while many in the aftermarket are wondering why such a drastic move was necessary in the first place.
Pessimistic Chinese tyre industry: what does the future hold?
2022 has been a challenging year for the Chinese tyre industry. This year is coming to an end, but a feeling of anxiety is crossing regions and classes and spreads throughout the industry. From manufacturers to distributors, from vulcanisation workshop workers to corporate executives, many professionals are asking the question: Where is the future of China’s tyre industry?
Recent Western Europe car tyre production decline ‘similar to financial crisis’ years
Passenger car and light truck (PCLT) tyre production trends in Western Europe have been scaling down over the long-term. The move to larger production facilities in the comparatively low-cost labour markets in Eastern Europe, or greater reliance on imports from Asia, has seen a steady stream of plant closures and conversions to speciality, short-run production capacity – on in the case of Cooper Tire’s UK plant, for example, one followed by the other – in the region. A new assessment of the most recent three-year period by tyre industry analyst Astutus Research suggests that the overall picture has been of a decline similar to the period following the 2008 financial crisis, which was itself a catalyst for this trend. Yet digging a little deeper into the figures shows several dynamics at play in European PCLT tyre production, including supply chain disruption and spiralling energy costs. For comprehensive analysis of global tyre market trends, a series of reports by Astutus Research are available to buy now in the Tyrepress Reports Shop – click here for more details.
EU-27 plus UK tyre imports rise 11% as winners and losers emerge from turbulent market
Since March, cumulative passenger car and light truck tyre imports to the European Union and UK have, for the first time, recovered to run above pre-pandemic levels. This is despite the well-documented impact of sharply higher ocean freight costs in this period, and disruption to production in some source countries. A newly published report by Astutus Research, “European PCLT Tire Demand and Supply Forecasts to 2026”, shows that in the first seven months of 2022, European (the EU-27 plus UK)* imports from outside the region were 11% higher than the same period last year and 5% higher than the equivalent pre-Covid period in 2019.
Ukraine war’s impact on global tyre-makers acute for Nokian, manageable for others
The first month of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has already revealed several consequences for mobility and the global tyre industry, as Tyrepress’s continuing coverage of the situation has shown. The resultant sanctions imposed on Russia by an international alliance and the response of multinational companies, at least 450 of which had scaled back their business in the country as of the publication of this article, will send reverberations around global economies. The tyre industry faces impacts on several fronts – higher fuel prices and further interruption to logistics chains and materials supply will have knock-on consequences for tyre sales that will unfold over the coming months. At nearly a month after the conflict began, tyre business analyst Astutus Research examines the immediate consequences for tyre manufacturing in Russia, as well as its neighbours Ukraine and Belarus. This analysis looks at the impact of events on the global manufacturers whose plants were collectively responsible for around 70 per cent of Russia’s passenger car and light truck (PCLT) output. For more Astutus Research analysis and forecasts for the global tyre business, see the report series ‘Beyond Covid-19’ in Tyrepress’s Report Shop.
Recovery’s small steps show most valuable consumer, light commercial tyre segments
The 2021 recovery of the UK car, SUV and van tyre (Light Vehicle) replacement market may not have been the desired quick return to pre-pandemic numbers, but GfK data supplied exclusively to Tyres & Accessories gives us some idea of how 2019 market growth areas have preserved continuity through the last two Covid-afflicted years. Tyres designed for the larger rims of higher performance and newer car models, SUV and light commercial vehicle tyres, and tyres offering performance in all seasons continued to grow at quicker rates than the whole UK replacement tyre market. These overall figures, shown in the top left-hand corner of the infographic, show that unit sales increased by three per cent within the panelmarket – similar figures comparing 2020 with 2019 published in February 2021 showed that unit sales contracted by 14 per cent for comparison. Meanwhile, the value of the UK’s Light Vehicle tyre market rose by seven per cent according to the panelmarket. GfK’s panelmarket data tracks points of sale around the UK to indicate aftermarket tyre trends – the data used for this article compares January-December 2021 to full-year 2020.
Tyre manufacturers to lose $2bn in OE revenues due to semi-conductor shortage
Astutus Research says that the shortage of semi-conductors and other vital components will lead to $2 billion (around £1.5 billion) in lost original equipment tyre revenues in 2021. The analyst notes that demand for new cars is not a factor in the slump in OE stream sales versus expectations, and that a rebound is expected in the coming years when component supply has returned. Astutus Research is currently offering a new report series via Tyrepress, presenting tyre industry forecasts in the wake of Covid-19, which takes into account such dynamics. The series, entitled ‘Beyond Covid-19’ offers market leading data on global original equipment and replacement passenger car and light truck tyre segments. It also offers region-specific PCLT tyre data for Europe, the Americas, and Asia Pacific. A full summary of the 11 available PDF reports with accompanying Excel data-books is available here.
Interview: Continental’s Tires head Christian Kötz on tyres, sensors and sustainability
With Continental AG celebrating 150 years in business during 2021, Tyres & Accessories recently interviewed Christian Kötz, Head of the Tires division and member of the Continental AG Executive Board in order to get an insight into how the global company is handling the challenges of today in light of its long history.
Tyres & Accessories: Continental celebrated its 150th anniversary in October. For a large part of its history Continental has been primarily known as a tyre manufacturer. But what does the Tires business unit mean for Continental today?
Goodyear, Michelin, Lodge and Vaculug amongst winners of government fleet tyre contracts worth £200 million
Following the news that Goodyear has retained the UK police fleet tyre contract, Tyres & Accessories contacted Crown Commercial Services in order to confirm which other tyre firms have succeeded in winning their part of the two government tyre supply contracts which together are worth an estimated £200 million.