Bridgestone Corporation is investing 10.2 billion yen (£68.0 million) in “cutting-edge equipment” for certain facilities at its Shimonoseki plant in Japan, the company’s flagship production base for tyres used in mining and construction applications. Installation of this equipment is scheduled to begin next year and be completed by the end of 2025.
Kumho Tire Co is planning to invest some 340 billion won (£217 million; 255 million euros; US$298 million) in expanding its tyre production facilities in Vietnam. The planned investment aimed at bracing for an increase in demand from North American markets and mitigating tariff-related price pressure, according to local news sources.
Vittoria, the bicycle tyre brand famous for using graphene in its compounds, has invested 10 million euros in quadrupling its Brembate (Bergamo, Northern Italy) premises from 10,000 to 40,000 square metres. The expansion project will see the company add a Cycling Innovation Centre and Bike Park.
Continental is further expanding its non-tyre activities through the acquisition of a minority stake in German-US start-up Recogni. The investment took place as part of the US$48.9 million Series B financing round announced by Recogni on 17 February. Both companies have agreed not to disclose the amount of the holding.
Bridgestone Corporation has invested in NEXT Logistics Japan, a company established by truck manufacturer Hino Motors in 2018 to explore new technologies and solutions for the logistics industry. The new investor will work together with NEXT Logistics Japan on a new long-distance transportation scheme that aims to reduce the number of drivers required for road haulage.
Goodyear has invested in a further autonomous vehicle firm through its Goodyear Ventures venture capital fund. The latest business to join Goodyear Venture’s growing investment portfolio is TuSimple, a global autonomous trucking technology company that operates self-driving trucks out of its facilities in the USA, Europe, China and Japan.
Goodyear Ventures, the venture capital arm of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, has added Starship Technologies to its investment portfolio. Goodyear Ventures joins multiple investors helping to raise US$17 million for the autonomous delivery company.
On 19 January 2021, 26 Members of the European Parliament wrote to Oliver Várhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations about concerns relating to “growing Chinese influence in Serbia and the impending environmental damage resulting from several heavy industrial projects in Serbia by Chinese owned companies”. The group are particularly interested in scrutinising Serbia’s apparently “generous” subsidies and environmental compliance protocols.
Vietnam Rubber Group says it achieved its revenue and profit targets for 2020, reporting profit of VNĐ5 trillion (roughly US$200 million) on sales of VNĐ25.477 trillion ($1 billion), according to the Vietnam News Agency. As a result of these figures, the company reports that its goals include restructuring and increased investment in the rubber sector with possible mergers that would help close the rubber tyre and tube products value chain.
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.
Last September, Bridgestone announced it would close its tyre production facility in Béthune, France during in 2021. The municipal council of Béthune-Bruay now claims the tyre maker didn’t fully honour the commitments it agreed to back in 2007, when the municipality contributed towards a 32-million-euro investment in the plant. It is therefore demanding that Bridgestone returns the subsidies it invested.
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.
Dr Andy Palmer, former CEO of Aston Martin, and non-executive vice chairman of InoBat Auto, a European electric vehicle battery producer, is calling on the UK Government to stimulate investment into domestic EV Battery Production.
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.