At the start of this month, Burkhardt Köller enjoyed his first day as a retiree after a career at Continental that spanned 47 years. His position as executive vice-president Finance and Controlling within Continental’s Tire division has been taken over, as of 1 June, by Dr Heinrich Exeler.
Continental reports that plans to establish a research facility for its ‘Taraxagum’ Russian dandelion rubber project in Anklam, Germany have gained council approval. With this box ticked, the tyre maker is now in the process of acquiring around seven and a half acres (3 hectares) of land in a local business park and obtaining a building permit prior to erecting the first building on the site.
A new research facility for industrialising the cultivation and processing of rubber harvested from Russian dandelions will be set up in Germany as part of Continental’s plan to bring tyres containing this rubber to market under the ‘Taraxagum’ brand name. On 12 August, the company presented plans to establish such a facility in Anklam, near the Baltic Sea island of Usedom. Continental will operate the Taraxagum Lab Anklam in collaboration with the IME Fraunhofer Institute, Julius Kühn Institute, Quedlinburg, and plant breeding specialist firm Eskusa GmbH.
In late April Continental concluded an investment agreement with the Hefei provincial and local governments in China, and has now unveiled plans to significantly expand its passenger car tyre factory there. Annual production capacity will rise from the current level of 5 million tyres per year to 14 million by 2019. In addition, bicycle tyre production in Hefei will be boosted from around 2 million units per annum to 13 million pieces by 2025.