For the three national markets of France, Italy and Spain, combined new light vehicle sales fell by 55 per cent on last year to 268,000 in May, which compares with a 75 per cent drop in March and a 93 per cent decline in April. This represents a slightly better scenario than had been anticipated, as Calum MacRae, automotive analyst at GlobalData, explains: “After the seized up and locked down markets of March and April, this is a welcome sign of life in markets that were the first in Europe to be engulfed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
As the February 2020 issue of Tyres & Accessories goes to press, the United Kingdom is officially leaving the European Union after three years of intense dispute and debate. At the same time, 2019 wasn’t a great year for the automotive and tyre industries (see page 36 onwards for further details of what has transpired during the last 12 months). And with a no-deal scenario presenting the possibility of import tariffs on and parts, 2020 doesn’t look like it is going to be a whole bunch better. However, while the disappointing performance of the car and tyre markets is linked to Brexit, the issues are not one and the same.
In addition to appointing Paul Reitz its eighth member, the Board of Directors at Titan International has also approved the company’s 2018 strategic and operational plan. Reitz commented that after “working hard to manage our way through three years of a cyclical downturn and then post three consecutive quarters of revenue growth this year,” it was “great to be able to present to our board a 2018 plan that continues to reflect growth across all of our business units.”
Due to a weaker economic forecast for Russia and the CIS, Nokian Tyres has downgraded its guidance for 2014 and now says net sales and operating profit will decline this year compared with 2013. This latest forecast replaces that published on 7 February, in which Nokian Tyres said it was positioned to show growth in net sales and operating profit this year.
The MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship is set for the first ‘triple-header’ of the season this weekend as the paddock returns to Oulton Park in Cheshire for the second time this season, and with showers forecast the Pirelli Diablo Rain tyre may get its first 2013 in-race use. The weekend also sees races from the both the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 and 600 Championships and the Ducati TriOptions 848 Challenge taking place, with every competitor using the Diablo Supercorsa SC V2 control tyre.
Tyre supplier to the MCE British Superbike Championship, Pirelli has forecast an easy weekend on its tyres as the championship visits the picturesque Oulton Park circuit. Back to back weekends at Brands Hatch and Thruxton have seen Pirelli’s slick and Diablo Rain tyres used with the changing weather. Pirelli has introduced the all new World Superbike derived Diablo Superbike SC1 compound this season, and the tyre has been the chosen option for the victor in all four races so far. Superbike riders are expected to use this option in dry conditions at Oulton Park, a challenging circuit with a good mix of elevation changes through fast sweeping corners.
The SMMT figures for commercial vehicle registrations in October paint a gloomy picture, with year-on-year CV sales down 8.1 per cent to 21,661 units; the rolling year figure is also down 0.9% to 293,312.
Truck registrations dipped to 3,867 units, down 8.1 per cent in the month, but the rolling year figure is up 16.3 per cent to 47,352.
Pirelli has predicted fast, exciting racing and hot weather at Snetterton’s MCE British Superbike event this weekend. The new ‘300’ track layout was well received by riders and fans last in its first year in 2011. The Pirelli team returns from the North West 200 having secured four race wins, to focus on Snetterton BSB before the start of the Isle of Man TT practice week on Monday.
After the fast, abrasive Thruxton surface, the British Superbike series moves to Oulton Park where the more flowing nature of the circuit and make-up of the asphalt means softer Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres may well be effective.
The first nine months of Japan’s 2011 financial year have been described by Toyo Tire & Rubber as being a “severe” business environment. During the nine month period between 1 April and 31 December 2011, the company experienced a 19.4 per cent year-on-year decrease in net income despite rising sales. Net sales increased 6.7 per cent during the timeframe in question, to 241.7 billion yen (£2.0 billion), while operating income and ordinary income rose 10.4 per cent and 11.9 per cent respectively, to 11.59 billion yen (£95.8 million) and 8.99 billion yen (£74.3 million). Despite stronger sales, net income sank by 985 million yen to 4.11 billion yen (£33.9 million) during the first three quarters.
Although Titan International intends to announce full details of its 2012 sales predictions in a conference call tomorrow, the company has already indicated its expects sales of up to US$1.9 billion next year – and the potential for even higher sales exists.
Casey Stoner finished the first day of practice for the French Grand Prix fastest overall, lapping under the existing lap record by nearly half a second. His fastest lap came on the harder option front and rear Bridgestone slicks, though he also lapped under the lap record and set provisional fastest using the new soft asymmetric rear tyre. Masao Azuma, chief field engineer at Bridgestone Motorsport: “I am pleased with the performance of both our slick tyre options today as we can see from the laptimes that both worked well.
MotoGP’s Czech Grand Prix weekend got underway with Free Practice today, and riders were keen to compare the balance of the slick compounds Bridgestone has provided (hard and extra-hard at the front, hard and medium at the rear. Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo continued his strong form during the first hour-long free practice session at Brno, setting the fastest time by more than half a second, his best coming on the harder variants.