The Trelleborg group has purchased Pirelli’s 40% share of the agricultural joint venture company Trelleborg Wheel Systems. Recently-appointed President of TWS, Maurizio Vischi, said that the customer would not notice any difference in products or service and that TWS would continue to have a close relationship with Pirelli. Later on this year TWS will manufacture Trelleborg-branded radial tyres at its Tivoli factory.
A short time ago there was just one production facility for Ringtread products in the whole of Europe: at Marangoni in Frosinone (Italy) which is the patent holder for this product that has already been described several times in NEUE REIFENZEITUNG. Marangoni’s German subsidiary Ellerbrock has invested millions of Deutsche Marks in its plant located in the north of Hamburg in order to be able to produce the tread rings for itself. In addition Ellerbrock has assumed the distribution rights from Marangoni for the Ringtread products, covering the German speaking countries and Denmark. By the end of this year Ellerbrock (turnover 2000: > 60 million DM, 125 employees) wants to achieve complete coverage for these products within Germany. Up until now three retreaders have been working with this technology. The company has completed successful negotiations with a couple of other companies, as was underlined by Clemens Zimmermann, Director of Organisation and Systems at Ellerbrock. One of these companies is “Reifen Ihle”; one of the largest retreaders in Germany. There will be no cannibalisation effects on the other product lines. Ringtread will be offered in addition to the conventional product range, consisting of “Kontur” and “PRL” treads. The marketing strategy is a two-dimensional one: on the one hand Ellerbrock goes with the Ringtread retreader to the customer, the end user, in order to convince him of the advantages of this technology. On the other hand Ellerbrock searches for new customer groups which have until now exclusively used new truck tyres and not considered retreads. Zimmermann is convinced that the positioning of the products following the slogan “Next to the New” will be a helpful argument in this context.
The German subsidiary of the Italian tyre producer Marangoni was founded six years ago in Wedel near Hamburg. The foundation of Marangoni Tyre GmbH took place at the beginning of May 1999, with General Manager Dirk Rohmann and Area Manager Martin Werner the only two people to work for the German company daughter up till now. One of their most important tasks is to increase the low awareness and attention the tyre brand receives from the end users at the moment. It was for this reason that the company held an international press conference in Rapallo in March 2000 that was attended by more than 100 journalists from all over Europe. The effect was a very positive one; Marangoni tyres have been represented in some summer- and winter-tyre-tests of international magazines, in which they performed quite well. The number of countries that are managed from Germany has increased from 16 to 22 in the previous one and a half years. New countries are: Ireland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Romania. The present market share in Germany amounts up to one percent – representing 400,000 tyres. The products are delivered directly on trucks from Italy. Twelve distribution partners handle the local distribution in Germany. In the western part the coverage is more ore less complete, whereas in the eastern part there are still some holes, that are due to be filled by spring next year. Furthermore Rohmann and Werner want to employ a third person who will keep a close contact with the 250 German tyre dealers where Marangoni products are sold.
The May issue of TYRES & ACCESSORIES contains an interview with Andrea Vassura, managing director of Marangoni Tyre. Speaking at the launch of Marangoni’s extended range of high performance tyres, Mr. Vassura revealed that the company was planning to build a new factory with an annual capacity of 4.5 million tyres. The existing plant at Anagni, which can produce three million tyres a year, is currently running at 90% capacity. The site of the plant has yet to be decided but the choice seems to be between Southern Italy or somewhere in Eastern Europe. There are substantial grants on offer from the Italian government for those who invest in the area, but Mr. Vassura says that no decision will be made until later on in the Summer. Marangoni Tyre had been offered the Cisterna di Latina factory, recently shut down by Goodyear, but it did not meet the company’s requirements. As a profitable tyre manufacturer, would Marangoni Tyres make a tempting takeover target in these days of consolidation? Mr. Vassura has no fears about this, as the sheer size and diversity of the parent group offers sufficient protection, he believes. On the other hand, Marangoni Tyre is small enough to be flexible and allow Mr. Vassura to make decisions quickly.
After having acquired Monarch (USA), Bergougnan (Belgium) and Vorwerk (Germany, now Rotatec) the new parent company Trelleborg Wheel Systems has re-arranged the distribution in several countries. After changes in France and Italy now the German partner Wenzel-Industrie has exclusive distribution rights for the Bergougnan brand, which, up to May, it shared with Industriereifenkontor Lüdtke.
Automechanika – the International Trade Fair for Car Workshop and Service Station Equipment, Automobile Spare Parts Accessories – has set a new exhibitor record: 3,909 exhibitors occupied all of the approx. 300,000 square metres of indoor and outdoor exhibition space to present their latest products and technical innovations. The almost three percent increase in exhibitor numbers was the result of growth in the number of German exhibitors. 67 percent of all exhibitors came from outside Germany. The top five exhibitor nations were Germany and Italy, followed by Taiwan, the USA and Great Britain. The exhibition ran from 6 to 10 September 2000 and Messe Frankfurt welcomed around 150,000 trade visitors from all over the world during the five days of the fair, where exhibitors took many orders and transacted a lot of business. In contrast to this positive attitude at the trade fair, the background situation of the market does not look that good: The car boom of previous years came to a sudden end this year. The EU-Commission in Brussels is thinking about ending the exclusive distributor networks of car retailers. Parallel to this the car manufacturers – especially Ford and Mercedes-Benz – are restructuring their distributor networks, which means that they are reducing the number of their retailers. The pressure on the suppliers exerted by the car producers continues to increase and as a result they are showing a stronger interest in the aftermarket business. Furthermore Goodyear/Dunlop’s daughter company Pneumant was the fist tyre producer for several years to have a booth at the Automechanika. However, it is doubtful that this is the first example of a growing trend, as the “Reifen” exhibition, central event of the European tyre world, was held just a few months ago and it is to be considered that – in contrast to the alloy wheel business – the target audience of the tyre manufacturers is most probably not those who attend the Automechanika. In NEUE REIFENZEITUNG 10/2000 we review the show.
This year alloy wheel producer BBS celebrates its 30th birthday. BBS is not one of the biggest producers of aluminium wheels but intends to grow significantly: from 2003 BBS plans to build up capacities of more than 4 million pieces a year at its headquarters in Germany’s Black Forest town Schiltach, at Italy’s Ruina factory near Ferrara and at a new plant in Herbolzheim near Freiburg. BBS is an oe supplier for car brands like BMW, Mercedes (AMG), Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, Saab, Volvo, Peugeot and Volkswagen and specialises in highly sophisticated wheels which means that the wheels are in extreme sizes or modular or have additional other special features. The history of BBS includes a lot of success in motorsport. BBS has been producing wheels for motorsport since 1974, and in 1991 the cooperation with Ferrari began. High-end products are the forged magnesium wheels for Formula 1 which are also flow-formed. Not only Ferrari with top driver Michael Schumacher, but also Benetton, Jaguar, Arrows, Prost, and hundreds of racing teams in other series all over the world trust in racing wheels by BBS – one of the main reasons that BBS is also the image leader in the alloy wheel aftermarkets of the world. Learn more about BBS in NEUE REIFENZEITUNG’s October issue.
Pirelli Germany’s year end figures show an increase of 33 p.c. compared to the previous year. The consolidated turnover was 626.3 million Euro; slightly higher level than last year. The earnings of the ordinary company activities amount to 21.7 million Euro. The strongest subsidiary, “Pirelli Reifenwerke”, grew five p.c. to 442.2 million Euro. The deliveries in the original equipment market increased 34 p.c and sales of passenger car and commercial vehicle tyres increased 4.8 p.c. to 9.1 million tyres.
The turnover of the motorcycle tyre division of Pirelli Germany (brands: Metzeler & Pirelli) in 1999 amounted to 94.9 million Euro; 1.4 p.c. more than the previous year. In motorcycle tyre terms, Pirelli is the market leader in Germany, Italy and Europe as a whole.
Goodyear has told bank analysts that it will close a large factory in Italy that produces six million tyres a year. Goodyear produced about 55 million tyres in Europe this year and intends to reduce the production capacity from 72 million tyres (after the Dunlop take-over) to about 62 million by 2002. After Goodyear’s shares lost more than 40 per cent of their value, they announced plans to close more than one factory and increase production in the remaining European plants by introducing a seven day operation.