The European automobile manufacturers association (ACEA) today released the latest European car registration statistics. In September 2004 1,353,817 units were registered across western Europe. This represents a decrease of –0.6 per cent (-0.7 per cent in the EU-15) compared with September 2003.
Continental AG (Hanover, Germany) and Daimler-Chrysler AG (Stuttgart, Germany) have signed an agreement on the original equipment delivery of commercial vehicle tires in the 2005 to 2007 time span. With the scope of the deliveries contracted, Continental becomes a volume-production commercial-vehicle-tire supplier to DaimlerChrysler. The agreement contains an option for 2008. Continental will equip the light to heavy trucks in the Atego, Axor, Actros and Econic model ranges with17.5″ to 24″ tires.
Morgan Stanley sees Continental Shares as positives at the end of the 17th Global Automotive Conference. Conti boss Manfred Wennemer had previously stuck to the goal of reducing debts and had announced that Continental was to buy the remainder of the Temic shares from Daimler Chrysler in the co ming month at a cost of 200 million Euro. When, as planned in the previous year, all five factories have been closed down, more than 50 per cent of Conti’s production capacities will be located in low wage-cost countries. After Wennemer’s statements in New York, some analysts, as has already been quoted in leading economic journals, regard it as possible, or even probable, that Continental is already thinking about dropping its truck tyre production completely – whereas the passenger tyre sector is still closely allied to the concept of chassis management.
Lear Corporation (Southfield, Michigan/USA) and Beru (Ludwigsburg/Germany) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly design and develop Tyre Pressure Monitoring systems for the global automotive market. Under this strategic partnership, the two companies will develop Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems that will relay information to drivers through the electronic architecture used for the Remote Keyless Entry System. The joint venture will combine Lear’s capabilities as the North American leader in Remote Keyless Entry Systems with that of Beru, the market leader in Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems in Europe.
Under pressure in Venezuela, Ford has produced an advertisement listing statistics that show that the Explorer compares favourably in safety terms with other SUVs. Although no competitive vehicles are mentioned by name in the advert, both Daimler/Chrysler and GM (Venezuela) have objected to it and are casting doubts on the accuracy of the figures.
Goodyear, supplying nearly 50 original equipment runflat tyre fitments to eight manufacturers, is the world leader in runflat tyres. The latest EMT (Extended Mobility Technology) fitment is on the Mini, a new product from the BMW Group which will have the Goodyear Eagle NCT5 EMT runflat tyres as an option. The company has runflat manufacturing capability in Fulda, Germany, and at plants in the USA.
According to research from Deloitte & Touche, businesses are not making the best use of Internet trading facilities. Most, they say, concentrate only on the supply chain element of their e-trading. According to the Deloitte & Touche report a full integration of the demand chain and supply chain, from basic supplier to consumer, offers greater shareholder value, increasing profitability by up to 70 percent.
Kirk Kerkorian, the third-biggest shareholder in DaimlerChrysler, has reportedly halved his stake in the company by selling 16 million shares recently. It is said that he will continue with the $8 bn lawsuit he brought against the company, alleging that it misled shareholders when Daimler and Chrysler merged.
The European End of Life Vehicle directive (ELVD), due to come into force in 2007, has threatened to be expensive for car manufacturers. Just how expensive is shown by press reports that Volkswagen has announced that it will be setting aside DM 1 bn in order to comply. BMW has already set aside half this figure and Daimler/Chrysler up to DM 400 m. Other manufacturers are expected to wait until next year
Meritor Automotive, a subsidiary of the Rockwell group, has announced the expansion of production at its wheel plant in San Luis Potosi (Mexico) to two million units annually. The expansion is necessary because of increased demand in the North American OE market for light truck and pick-up wheels and includes the completion of assembly facilities. A major consumer is Daimler Chrysler (Dodge Ram).