A new SUV winter range is available from Dębica. Called the Frigo SUV2, the newcomer is described as a “wallet-friendly tyre that is suitable for all winter conditions.” It joins the Frigo 2 and Frigo HP2 in the Dębica winter portfolio and will be available in six sizes. The first three come to market this month and a further two are scheduled to launch before the end of the year.
Following on from the release of new summer UHP products for its Fulda and Sava brands, Goodyear has introduced a UHP tyre range for its Poland-based brand, Dębica. The tyre maker states that the new Presto UHP2 offers greater mileage than the previous-generation tyre thanks to the use of a ‘Uniform Contact Pressure’ design, which distributes pressure over the whole tread contact area and thus spreads wear more evenly. Rolling resistance has also improved through the use of an optimised rolling resistance chafer that controls energy dissipation via the tyre’s rim.
Motorwelt, the members’ publication of German motoring organisation the ADAC, always held a prominent position amongst magazine tyre tests. Whether this will change due to the recent scandals remains to be seen. But in its recently-published summer tyre test, the organisation states in bold that it doesn’t collude with tyre makers in any way, shape or form: “For more than 40 years the ADAC has tested tyres – neutrally and independently”. For this latest test, the ADAC tested dry weather characteristics at Bridgestone’s European Test Center in Italy and wet weather characteristics at Continental’s Contidrom facility. While the German tyre maker’s EcoContact 5 and the Bridgestone Ecopia EP150 were respectively the top and fourth-rated of the 16 size 175/65 R14T tyres tested, in the size 195/65 R15V test Bridgestone only managed 12th place out of 17 with its Turanza T001, while Continental’s PremiumContact 5 ended up one position lower. If the tyre makers did have a hand in manipulating test results for the 15-inch tyres, they didn’t do a very good job of it.
On 1 July, Goodyear Dunlop Sava Tires will mark 15 years in the business. The tyre maker purchased the Slovenian firm in 1998 and says that since that time it has grown into one of the largest and most successful US-invested firms in the country. Goodyear Dunlop Sava Tires, or GDST, now employs some 1,400 people and has received over 200 million euros in investment from its parent company, including 15.5 million euros in 2012. The company says it has produced 100 million tyres since 1998.
On 13 August Polish tyre maker TC Dębica informed the Warsaw Stock Exchange of further reductions to its planned 2012 production of passenger car, truck and agricultural tyres. These changes approved by the company’s Board of Directors come on top of cuts announced in March and May, and reduce Dębica’s planned 2012 passenger car tyre production by an additional four per cent, truck tyre production by one per cent and agricultural tyre production by nine per cent.
TC Debica has reduced its production output after Goodyear, who owns 66.05 per cent equity in the Polish tyre maker, reduced its orders with the company. In a statement, Debica said that in March 2012 it will produce approximately ten per cent less passenger car and truck tyres and 4.5 per cent fewer agricultural tyres than planned. In relation to the company’s annual product plan, this equals a one per cent reduction in passenger car and truck tyre output and a half per cent decline for agricultural tyres.
The point-S organisation has made the headlines again. Following the dismissal of point S Germany’s managing director Jürgen Benz last December, a move that took many by surprise, point S France now appears to have interesting times ahead as it distances itself from the most important player in the nation’s tyre market: Michelin. French media sources report a “thunderclap in the tyre world,” in which point S in France has failed to reach a consensus with Michelin regarding terms and conditions for the coming year and as a result has excluded tyres sourced directly from the market leader from its range. Michelin reportedly accounted for at least 40 per cent of the point S operation in France’s total turnover, thus market observers view the organisation’s decision as quite a dangerous one. But where exactly lies the danger?
In the third quarter of 2011 Polish tyre maker Debica S.A. reported sales of PLN 717 million (£138.6 million), a 38.9 per cent year-on-year increase. Operating profit in the July to September quarter rose 61.6 per cent year-on-year to PLN 59.9 million (£11.6 million) while net profit, at PLN 32.6 million (£6.3 million), was down 9.62 per cent compared with the third quarter of 2010.
As of July 1, Slovenia’s Sava Tires will be known as Goodyear Dunlop Sava Tires. This name change was announced by Sava Tires management at a press conference on June 28; the reason given for adopting the new name was that it will bring the Sava operation’s company name in line with the other Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe companies. Furthermore, it is expected the new name will give the company greater visibility and strengthen its market position.
One outcome of the recession has been increased awareness of the need to maximise tyre value through related services. Several manufacturers of budget-segment brands have shared with Tyres & Accessories their view that simply producing affordable tyres holds little future; service, they realise, will increasingly be a dividing point between brands that do well and those that don’t. Established tyre majors, such as Goodyear Dunlop, enjoy a significant head start in this area, and this is helping them gain a better foothold in a market increasingly focused on whole-life savings.
Goodyear Dunlop’s new consumer director, Juergen Titz, has made his first public appearance in the role, launching the recently revamped Kettering branch of HiQ alongside UK and Ireland managing director George Rietbergen. Titz suggested that he would open his tenure as consumer director with new strategies to improve the success of the company’s brand range, notably utilising its connection to HiQ. Following his spell as retail director for the fast fit network, a period described by the franchise as extremely successful, Titz was present at the launch to support HiQ’s biggest franchisee Chris Kisby, MD of Easy Tyre & Autocentres.
Goodyear Dunlop Tyres UK Limited has announced that Juergen Titz, currently director of the company’s HiQ retail network, has been appointed as director, Consumer and Motorcycle effective 1 October 2010. He will continue to report to George Rietbergen, managing director – UK and Ireland, and replaces Mark Davison, who is said to be moving to a new opportunity outside of the tyre industry. According to the company, further organisational announcements are due to be made at a later date, following this change. Tyres & Accessories understands that this means Goodyear Dunlop will shortly announce a new face for the HiQ top in response to Juergen Titz’ promotion. A spokesman told T&A that if no replacement is announced by the end of the month, the HiQ team will report directly George Rietbergen.
In September Goodyear announced an intention to increase its ownership stake in the company’s Polish Debica unit. Of the total 13.8 million shares in Debica, some 4.69 were still owned by other parties, and it was the US manufacturer’s intention to “acquire any and all outstanding shares of Polish tire company TC Debica for 59.52 zloty (£12.88) per share.” Goodyear has announced that its cash tender offer, which ran between October 12 and November 10, landed the company exactly 8,220 Debica shares – equivalent to approximately 0.06 per cent of the unit’s worth.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber has announced that its Luxembourg based subsidiary Goodyear S.A. will commence a cash tender offer to acquire any outstanding shares in Polish tyre company TC Debica for 59.52 PLN per share.
In the midst of some of the worst falls in Europe truck tyre production in a decade, opinions about the short and medium term prognosis for the segment remain divided. But while the research available fails to offer conclusive answers to the question of whether or not the truck tyre market has yet “bottomed out”; and fails to clearly indicate whether or not it is yet in recovery mode, there are signs that the worst is over. Looking at the SMMT’s UK commercial vehicle registration figures is a depressing place to start, but it reflects how bad the situation has been up till now. This data shows that there were just 309 3.5 – 6 tonne truck registrations (-35.89 per cent) in August; 7,531 3.5 tonne van registrations (-34.56 per cent); and 1546 heavy truck registrations (-46.49 per cent). Year-to-date registrations aren’t any better and are currently -43.88 per cent, -21.79 per cent and -44.59 per cent for each of those three segments at 203,117; 5,669 and 32,263 registrations respectively. According to SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt, not only are the truck and van markets “dogged by weak demand,” but the outlook is that “van and truck registrations will stabilise at around 45 per cent down” compared with 2008.