The exact timing for a return to a pre-2020 kind of normalcy is anyone’s guess, and this uncertainty makes event planning a risky undertaking. The organisers of tyre exhibition The Tire Cologne are therefore hedging their bets by combining the traditional trade fair format with a virtual show. Both are scheduled to take place between 18 and 20 May 2021.
The Nürburgring 24 Hours is one of the last open tyre competitions in recent years. For Falken, it represents an opportunity to compete on track against top global premium brands, like Michelin, Goodyear and Yokohama. In the last decade Falken road tyre technology it has narrowed the performance gap, evidenced by improved results in third party tyre tests.
In addition to testing car tyres ahead of this year’s colder months, three European motoring clubs have taken a close look at winter rubber for mid-sized SUVs and vans. The 13 brands of 235/55 R17 V tyre participating in this joint comparative evaluation from Germany association ADAC, Austria’s ÖAMTC and Switzerland’s TCS performed well overall, with results ranging from highly recommended/good to conditionally recommended/adequate.
Three leading European motoring associations have published the results of their joint 2020 winter car tyre test. The ADAC from Germany, Austria’s ÖAMTC and Swiss club TCS looked at 15 brands of tyre. While they didn’t award any of the evaluated products their top ratings of ‘very good’ (ADAC) or ‘excellent’ (ÖAMTC, TCS), the clubs noted that overall test results were positive. In addition to five strong performers, seven further tyres were recommended and one conditionally recommended. Only two tyres failed to make the grade.
Nokian Tyres has shifted away from its Vianor retail franchise concept in Germany. The Finnish tyre manufacturer said that it is “continuing the close cooperation with our former Vianor dealers in a new, but similarly intensive way under our Nokian Authorised Dealers (NAD) marketing concept.” The move comes shortly after Nokian sold its US Vianor Tire Centers business to Point S, and signifies a move away from the Vianor branding outside the brand’s domestic-plus Nordic region, where Vianor is established with 186 Vianor Equity locations. Anna Hyvönen, SVP, Nordics & Vianor, told Tyres & Accessories that the company is enacting its plans to “optimise” its Central European and North American distribution network via NAD, “focusing on the quality of the partners and providing excellent support and benefits.”
The five-year-old sponsorship arrangement between Linglong Tire and German Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg has been given a further boost with a two-year extension of the 2019-initiated sleeve partnership. The continued presence of the Linglong logo on the left sleeve of players’ jerseys through to 2022 complements a partnership that also includes advertising on stadium LED boards, cam carpets, matchday hospitality and digital services.
The union representing employees at a closure-threatened Continental factory has responded angrily to the decision, accusing Continental of “sacrificing” a “profitable tyre plant” as part of its savings programme. The IG BCE union particularly doesn’t understand the logic behind this step as it claims the tyre business in Aachen has achieved “double-digit” profit margins over the years and even operated in the black during the corona lockdown.
Employees at Continental AG’s Aachen, Germany tyre factory were informed that the plant will be closed by the end of 2021. According to the German Handelsblatt newspapter, more than 1,800 employees will be affected by the closure. The announcement comes two weeks after Continental announced cost-cutting plans aiming at saving 1 billion euros by 2023.
Over the past seven years, Hankook has firmly established its range of hot retreaded Alphatread tyres in many European markets. What began in Great Britain as part of a joint venture partnership is now being given a new boost in Central Europe. With the takeover of Reifen Müller in 2018, Hankook is now also the operator of its own retreading operation, which is being gradually expanded into a fully-fledged Hankook factory retreading factory – something colleagues at our German sister publication Neue Reifenzeitung found out. Now that Hankook is also manufacturing Alphatread tyres for Germany and neighbouring markets, the medium term is about much more than just a new product range: Hankook wants to redefine its position as a service provider on the commercial vehicle tyre market and establish itself as a system supplier. Customers in other European markets should also benefit from this.
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Continental is expanding the restructuring programme it initiated in 2019. The company is adding further measures to cut costs and increase efficiency to its Transformation 2019-2029 programme. The tyre manufacturer wants to achieve gross annual savings of more than 1 billion euros by 2023. This is significantly more than previous targets – in fact more than doubling the initially quoted figure. In total it expects the changes to affect more than 30,000 jobs worldwide. Its workers in Conti’s domestic market in Germany will be the largest part, with 13,000 affected jobs. A further major proportion will be in countries with high labour costs. Conti says these jobs will be modified, relocated, or made redundant. Conti says the programme aims to ensure its viability and strengthen global competitiveness in the long term.
Much has changed at Nexen Tire of late, a phenomenon particularly noticeable within the South Korean tyre maker’s European operation. In the past two years, the company has set up a new production facility in the Czech Republic and a European headquarters in Germany as part of its ‘Global Nexen’ strategy. This expansion is occurring parallel to similar growth in Korea and the USA.
Confronting one’s past can be a taxing experience, all the more so when this past includes one of history’s darkest hours. But this is exactly what tyre maker and automotive systems company Continental is doing in the run-up to its 150th anniversary – it is looking back more than three-quarters of a century to examine the firm’s role within the Nazi system and in Hitler’s war. Continental’s review of its involvement with the National Socialist government in Germany is being supported by the findings of an independent academic study, which was presented this morning.
German tyre retailer and fast fit network ATU has announced plans to close up to 45 of its least profitable outlets. It says this culling of the weak is being carried out as a means of “strengthening the entire company.”
Automechanika is offering new digital networking opportunities for everyone who had been looking forward to coming to Frankfurt this September. Starting on 10 September, there will be a series of online training courses for workshops available at sneak-preview.automechanika-frankfurt.com. Visitors to the website will also find updated company profiles for exhibitors, while users of the new ‘Connect’ tool in the Automechanika app will be able to contact other automotive professionals directly.