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.
Retreading solutions lie at the heart of Bridgestone Corporation’s new Sustainability Business Framework. Announcing details of the framework’s “retread centric model”, chief executive officer Shu Ishibashi shares that the tyre maker plans to utilise tyre monitoring technologies in order to offer customised retreads via a subscription model.
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.
The UK new car market fell by 29.4 per cent in 2020, with annual registrations dropping to 1,631,064 units, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today 6 January 2021. A -10.9 per cent decline in December topped off a turbulent year, which saw demand fall by 680,076 units to a near 30-year low (specifically, the lowest level of registrations since 1992).
Michelin has announced its intention to “evolve” its activities in its France by means of a three-year competitiveness plan covering all of its manufacturing, corporate and administrative operations within the country. The company is taking this step as a response to “profound, structural shifts in the global tyre market” over the past decade that have been “led by the massive influx of low-cost products.” The plan could see up to 2,300 of the 20,000 Michelin jobs in France cut over the coming three years.
Tyre specialists, fast-fits and other garages will remain open despite news of the UK’s third national lockdown on the evening of 4 January 2021. Continuing the trend of the last two lockdowns, the stalwart tyre business has worked through the crisis to keep Britain rolling, with NTDA chief executive Stefan Hay reported increase take-up of the association’s key worker accreditation cards.
Yokohama Rubber’s off-highway tyre business, Yokohama Off-Highway Tires (YOHT), has unveiled a new corporate identity and corporate logo. The tyre maker says this new identity draws on the company’s century-old legacy while underlining YOHT’s own distinct space in the off-highway segment. As a result, the ATG trademark was phased out around the world as of 1 January 2021.
Back in April, Tyres & Accessories spoke to leading supplier of freight forwarding services to the UK tyre sector, Maritime Cargo Services about the perfect storm of circumstances complicating life for tyre importers. Then it was difficult to anticipate the logistical problems the industry would face by the end of the first quarter – at least far enough ahead to sidestep the issues entirely. Even armed with the expectation of disruption, the pressure has built at British ports throughout the year, especially in the last quarter as Covid began to spike again. As a result, Honda UK’s suspension of production became a high-profile symptom of the catalogue of issues causing bottlenecking and ultimately delays in the supply chain. With the end of the Brexit transition coming amidst the second spike of Covid-19 transmissions on 31 December, T&A asked MCS again about what difficulties distribution businesses need to plan for this winter.
At the start of 2021, the Potenza Sport will take over from the Potenza S001 as the flagship of Bridgestone’s tyre range. Bridgestone says the new ultra-high-performance tyre possesses “excellent capabilities in both the dry and wet” as well as higher mileage potential than its predecessor. All 96 dimensions in the Potenza Sport range have an EU label ‘A’ grade for wet grip.
Pirelli has created a bespoke new Scorpion Zero All Season SUV tyre as original equipment for the latest Land Rover Defender. The new development reinforces the manufacturer’s partnership with Land Rover. Work on the bespoke tyre was begun at Pirelli’s factories in Carlisle and Milan, with Pirelli engineers working closely with their Land Rover counterparts. Over the full course of the intensive development programme, testing was conducted all over the world in the most extreme conditions possible, Pirelli adds.
Giti Tire has produced its first AA-rated EU label tyre. The GitiSynergyH2 original equipment tyre, produced in size 215/55R17 XL 98H for the bestselling VW Caddy 5 light commercial vehicle, achieved A grades in the EU label’s wet grip and fuel efficiency metrics. The deal follows Giti’s first LCV OE deal with Volkswagen earlier in 2020, for the larger Crafter model. An aftermarket version of the new GitiSynergyH2 will be launched in the aftermarket in March 2021, replacing the GitiSynergyE1 and GitiPremiumH1, both of which were part of the original Giti brand launch into Europe in 2016. Label ratings for the replacement range will be confirmed during the model’s aftermarket launch.
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.
During the course of 2020 the emergency services’ irreplaceable role as keyworkers took a deserved centre stage. At the same time, tyre technicians up and down the country stayed busy making sure blue light fleets kept rolling. With the Crown Commercial Services framework coming up for renewal in 2021, Tyres & Accessories conducted an in-depth analysis of the Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance fleets’ tyre purchasing and consumption serialised across the year. But how do the Police and Ambulance fleets compare? In this, the concluding part of our series of blue light fleet analyses, we zoom out and compare the national trends present in each emergency service with the other.