Bridgestone’s mid-range Firestone brand has launched a new “affordable high performance summer tyre”, the Firehawk Sport. The manufacturer says the tyre builds on the US-origin brand’s “strong legacy,” emphasising improved steering response, wet grip and dry braking characteristics versus the predecessor Firehawk SZ90mu. Bridgestone is marketing the tyre as a product to help drivers “feel empowered and in control at all times;” it targets its Firestone brand primarily at younger UK and European drivers, who are brand-conscious but also demanding greater affordability. It wants to leverage the long-term brand value of Firestone, which has a century-long heritage in motorsport and innovation, to achieve this.
Continental’s latest generation of winter tyres, the WinterContact TS 870 and 870 P have received approval from Ford for original fitment on the current Explorer, Fiesta, Focus, Mustang and Puma models. Both tyres are now available from Ford dealers. The current tyres, which were launched onto the aftermarket in 2021 offer precise steering and excellent safety characteristics, backed by a success independent magazine testing season in 2022.
A positive first half of 2022 gave way to an increasingly bleak picture for replacement tyre sales according to overall figures published today by European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) members. Overall this meant replacement consumer tyre sales were 2 per cent down on 2021. Commercial replacement tyre sales remained largely flat, except for the agricultural tyre market, which was down more than a fifth (-22 per cent), having been in contraction all year. Quarter four saw double-digit percentage falls versus the fourth quarter of 2021 as the effects of war in Ukraine, including spiralling energy prices and a continental cost of living crisis, bit. The European replacement tyre segment’s first half of the year had been relatively buoyant, with double-digit growth in replacement truck and bus tyres the highlight.
The UK new car market grew 23.5 per cent in November to 142,889 registered units in the fourth consecutive month of year-on-year growth, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The growth delivered the best total for November since 2019, with manufacturers continuing efforts to fulfil orders amid erratic global components supply. However, registrations in the month were still -8.8 per cent below 2019 levels and, while further recovery is anticipated in 2023, global and domestic economic challenges mean that the market will remain below pre-pandemic levels.
In the United States, Pirelli has announced a price increase relating to car and light truck tyres. Effective 15 January 2023, the company will increase prices by 10 per cent, varying by line and tyre size.
Tatneft has signed an agreement with JSC Uzkimyosanoat to purchase Uzbekistan tyre manufacturer Birinchi Rezinotexnika Zavodi (BRZ) LLC. According to the Interfax news agency, Tatneft will hold 100 per cent of the enterprise’s shares following the deal.
Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. has begun supplying its Advan dB V552 tyres as original equipment (OE) to Honda Motor Co., Ltd., for use on its new SUV, the ZR-V. The new SUV will be sold in Japan and overseas is being fitted with 215/60R17 96H and 225/55R18 98H size tyres.
Grupo Alves Bandeira’s MatraX Tyres will make its debut at Automechanika Dubai 2022 (Dubai World Trade Centre, 22-24 November). The brand’s tyre range covers the PCR, high performance, SUV and 4×4 segments – the company plans to showcase its PCR and high performance patterns during the event. Andre Bandeira, managing director of Grupo Alves Bandeira says: “Our MatraX tyres are specifically designed and manufactured to guarantee comfort, safety and outstanding value for money with ultimate drive performance and all-round safety through totally professional engineering techniques.
The UK new car market recorded a third month of growth in October, with registrations rising by more than a quarter (26.4 per cent) to 134,344 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Fulfilment of strong order books helped deliver the bounce-back, although the increase follows a particularly disappointing October 2021 when deliveries fell by -24.6 per cent. In the year to date, the market is down -5.6 per cent on the same period in 2021, but still a third below pre-Covid levels.
Fleets are racking up additional running costs though drivers running vehicles with tyres that are underinflated. According to ATS Euromaster, 12 per cent of the vans and cars it sees under its fleet Mastercare programme feature tyres that are below pressure. The results, says the national tyre and maintenance provider, will be to inflate running costs by between 3-10 per cent depending on the degree of under-inflation.
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.
Already well established as a leading Truck and Commercial wholesale tyre supplier, recent diversification from GB Tyres has seen it increase its presence in the car wholesale market. It is now looking forward to expanding its off-road agricultural, plant, construction and earthmover offerings, the wholesaler tells Tyres & Accessories. While the expansion of its sales into passenger car tyres has required approaching new customers and a slightly different customer base, many agricultural customers are already using GB Tyres for their truck tyre supply. GB Tyres says the extension is therefore a case of “enhancing its offer to the same customers.” It adds that the advantage of offering tyres in an expanding range of segments to an existing large customer base means it can offer a mix of car, truck and any other tyres all on the same delivery, which helps the company distinguish itself from some competitors.
The cost-of-living crisis is forcing half of older drivers to make fewer journeys, according to a survey by disability motoring website MotaClarity. The poll of more than 1,000 drivers aged 50 and over found that 54 per cent were considering placing self-imposed limits on their driving in order to save cash in the face of mounting household expenses. With miles driven going down – in this particular demographic at least – should the data be proved to reflect reality, tyre consumption will also drop.
Giti Tire has extended its GitiWinterW2 range to 39 sizes between 15 and 19 inches, including the SUV variant of the winter tyre. The pattern now covers 90 per cent of targeted winter market demand throughout Europe. The smallest size, 175/65R15 is designed for cars such as the Fiat 500, Mini and Toyota Yaris, while the 255/50R19 fits such models as the Audi Q4, BMW X5 and X6, Mercedes GLC, Skoda Enyaq iV and VW ID.4 and ID.5. Originally launched in August 2021 in 13 core sizes, Giti says the second iteration of the product delivers improved dry dynamics, wet braking and aquaplaning resistance, while maintaining the first generation’s snow and ice grip and traction.