The first batch of radial truck tyres rolled off the production line at Guizhou Tire Co Ltd’s Vietnam plant on 1 April 2021, marking the completion of the first phase of the factory project. When Guizhou Tire’s Vietnam tyre factory, which was funded through a share issue in September last year, gets up to speed it will produce 1.2 million radial tyres a year.
Ferentino Tyre Corporation’s Horana, Sri Lanka tyre factory was officially opened by Sri Lankan president Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on 14 January 2021. The facility was constructed with an investment of US$250 million and can reportedly produce 2.4 million tyres annually. Tyres made at the Ferentino factory will cross a number of sectors including radial car, SUV, bicycle and even three-wheelers. These include a “Mythos” product line reminiscent of the Marangoni passenger car tyre range previously produced in the same place (see below). Of the 2.4 million tyres produced annually at the Ferentino factory in this phase, 80 per cent are destined for export markets. A second phase is scheduled to be completed in March 2022.
Aluminium casting and automotive parts specialist, Citic Dicastal kicked off production at its second aluminium wheel factory in Morocco at the end of December 2020. With a budget of 350 million euros, the Chinese wheelmaker aims to double its capacity in Morocco to 6 million wheels and create a total of 1,250 jobs. According to local news reports, the Dicastal-made wheels are destined for vehicles made by the French OEM PSA Group as well as exports.
Toyo Tire Corporation and its Toyo Tire Serbia LLC Belgrade manufacturing subsidiary broke ground at the site of Toyo’s new tyre plant in Indjija City, the Republic of Serbia, on 15 December 2020. Toyo Tire’s eighth tyre manufacturing base is due to start tyre manufacturing operations in April 2022, with a capacity of 5 million passenger car tyres per annum by the summer of 2023.
Bridgestone announced plans to close Béthune, France factory back in September 2020. Now, however, the location looks likely to retain a role in the broader automotive sector after the Japanese tyremaker reported that it has identified 24 opportunities relating to the future of the site. Two of the options relate the sale of the site to other tyre manufacturers. Five of the identified projects concern the installation of new activities on the site in tyre and rubber fields as well as batteries and other sectors. Two of the proposals relate to “the installation of activities outside the site”. Nine projects are said to be in the study phase.
Despite signing an MoU regarding a similar project in Wales in July, Britishvolt has appointed a construction company (ISG) to build a new gigaplant in Blyth, Northumberland, with construction planned to commence in Summer 2021. The result of £2.6 billion investment, it will begin producing lithium-ion batteries for the automotive and renewable energy industries at the end of 2023. Construction of further phases will continue until the end of 2027.
Following the news that the Japanese tyremaker has received free land as part of the state support package for its Serbia tyre plant, the country’s state aid commission has approved the allocation of 41 million euros ($48.7 million) in government financing to Toyo to support the construction of the new factory in Indjija, northern Serbia.
Shandong Linglong plans to increase the capital of its Linglong International Europe Serbian unit by US$174.1 million (146.6 million euros) for the construction of its tyre factory in Zrenjanin, northern Serbia. When finished the factory will require 1,200 employees and produce 13 million tyres per year.
The first truck tyres made at Continental’s greenfield factory in Clinton, Mississippi, US are being delivered four years after the company broke ground on the project. The Clinton plant is Continental’s first new plant for the truck tyre business globally in more than 10 years. It produces large truck and bus tyres for the North American market and will employ 500 people by the end of 2020. Clinton is Continental’s second location producing truck tyres in the US. The other can be found in Mount Vernon, Illinois. According to the Continental, more than 280 employees collaborated safely to deliver the first shipment of tyres.
Askar Mamin, the prime minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, recently hosted the general director of PJSC Tatneft, Nail Maganov, for talks relating the construction of a new tyre factory in Kazakhstan.
Despite the fact that the UK was in the middle of lockdown, Michelin Tyre Plc’s ultra-modern retread manufacturing operation resumed production at the end of April. In fact, according to the company, there were only two reasons that the Campbell Road, Stoke-on-Trent site paused manufacturing at all: because the coronavirus-related closures coincided with a pre-planned maintenance stoppage; and because – again due to Covid-19 – there was trouble securing deliveries of the right raw materials from the continent prior to April (see “Michelin Stoke up-and-running, looking forward to ‘steady market growth’” for Michelin UK factory manager Francois Levert’s view on how things have progressed after reopening). Therefore, Michelin UK’s retread manufacturing operation only actually endured a three-week factory shutdown. The neighbouring UK headquarters opened in mid-July and so now its truck tyre and retreading business is putting the focus on success in the new normal. This began with a communications drive that has seen the manufacturer promote the ecological benefits of retreads. Tyres & Accessories spoke with Michelin Plc managing director Chris Smith in order to find out more.
GKN Wheels’ multi-million-pound investment programme at its Telford factory has resulted in the achievement of record targets. Despite a number of obstacles, not least the impact Coronavirus pandemic has had on the plant’s operational capabilities, the new manufacturing plant is now producing more than three times as many wheels as the old plant, with 55 high-quality off-highway wheels now being manufactured every hour. With the new line now fully operational, the old lines and assembly cells have now been decommissioned and disposed of.
The Serbian state is set to give Japanese tyre manufacturer Toyo 637,455 square metres of land worth roughly 3 million euros for its newest factory. According to a Serbian State Aid Control Commission decision, the countries Tax Administration calculated that – based on a land valuation of 5 euros per square metre, Toyo will have to employ 523 workers indefinitely by 2023.
Having received approval back in June, Qingdao Sentury Tire has successfully completed its Initial Public Offering (IPO) and is now listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (China) as of 11 September 2020. 11 per cent of the company’s shares were valued at 1.31 billion yuan (162 million euros; £149.859 million) by investors, resulting in a theoretical total valuation of 1.47 billion euros. The offered shares offered were oversubscribed 2887 times over. But what is the company planning to do with its newly-raised funds?