Cooper Tire reports that Smithers Quality Assessments lead auditor Ricker Zoller recently conducted an ISO 9001:2000 stage one audit at its Cooper Kenda Tire facility in Kunshan, China. This stage one audit, the company adds, is comparable to the pre-certification audits that North American plants underwent in spring 2008 in preparation for their actual certification audits. The certification audit at Cooper Kenda Tire is scheduled for July.
Following the four-day inspection, the auditor commented that he found “no issues that would prevent Cooper Kenda Tire from obtaining its certification.” This positive feedback comes after half a year of preparation for ISO auditing, a time in which department leaders and employees have been engaged in establishing proper procedure documents. Cooper states that employees have developed all the required systems, such as document control, internal audit, corrective and preventive action and calibration systems.
Starco has announced the launch of its new range of low cost, good quality ATV tyres. The brand, which has been previously established on the US market, will run alongside Starco’s existing Kenda line up, a move that the company says will offer customers greater choice.
The range includes both crossply and radial sizes and is available with a choice of tread designs to suit all applications and conditions. Starco’s warehouse in Rugeley, Staffordshire holds £3 million of stock, comprising comprehensive ranges of wheels, tyres and tubes for not only ATV but also turf, wheelbarrow, high speed trailer, industrial forklift, implement, skid steer and small materials handling applications. In response to customer demand and market trends, the ATV addition to the existing range is designed, says Starco, to maintain the company’s position as a major supplier of ATV tyres from the premium to the budget end of the market.
Bob Phoenix has been named vice president of sales for Kenda USA’s Automotive Tire Division. Phoenix, most recently a regional vice president for Kumho Tire USA, will be responsible for the sales and marketing of Kenda radial passenger and light truck/SUV tyres in the US and Canadian markets. As of 1 May, Kenda will be actively signing distributors/dealers for its lines of passenger and light truck/SUV radials, president Jimmy Yang said. (Tire Review/Akron)
Kenda Rubber Industries’ recently opened tyre plant in China will serve as a stepping stone to growing the company’s presence in that country, officials said. The first phase of the new plant in Teinjin, China, at $23 million, is set to produce bicycle and motorcycle tyres and tubes. Later phases, though, will add production of some five million radial passenger tires per year, Kenda said.
Kenda has also been aggressively pursuing OE positions, and recently landed slots with Iranian car maker Saita Group. Kenda will supply some 200,000 radial tyres per year for Saita’s Pride line. Kenda claims it has also gained OE business with an unnamed Chinese automaker. (Tire Review/Akron)
Production has officially commenced at Kenda Rubber’s new facility in Tianjin, China. Approximately US$23 million has been invested in this first phase of the project – a total of $200 million has been set aside for work at Tianjin. The second phase is set to be launched in July.
It has been just over a year since Starco GB added the industrial tyre segment to its existing product range, and although market conditions have been tough, the company reports that it has achieved “substantial growth” in this area. As the UK and Ireland distributor for the Globe Star product, Starco stocks a wide range of resilient solids and press on band tyres, both standard and non-marking easyfit. The solids are complemented with a full range of Kenda Kinetics pneumatic forklift tyres and an even wider range of other industrial, agricultural and skid steer sizes due to the recent addition of the Deestone range of product.
In a world where performance, safety and superiority rule, Kenda says it is marking itself out from the crowd. The Taiwanese manufacturer reports that it has for some time focused on reducing tyre noise, and its low noise tyres are now successfully marketed in many global markets – clear favourites amongst millions of commuters, adds Kenda. The automotive industry allows little or no room for mistakes and substandard quality levels, the company comments, and says it should therefore come as no surprise that Kenda puts safety, innovation and reliability at the core of its operation.
Kenda has reported the commencement of an OE agreement with Iran’s largest car producer, the Saipa group. Since November 2008, the Taiwanese manufacturer’s tyres have been fitted as original equipment on Kia Pride models built by Saipa under licence. The vehicle, fitted with Kenda’s KR23-Komet Plus tyre in size 165/65R13, is sold in a number of export markets, including Azerbaijan, Armenia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan, Venezuela, Yemen, Uzbekistan.
Cooper Tire has reported the most successful ramp-up programme ever achieved by the company. In August, Cooper Kenda Tire reached the milestone of building and curing more than 10,000 tyres a day – a significant accomplishment, considering the CKT factory in Kunshan, west of Shanghai, has only been in production for 17 months. According to Hal Miller, president of Cooper International Tire Division, the team at CKT reached a monthly schedule that has never been seen before at the company’s other plants, a feat he attributes to the dedicated Cooper Kenda staff, and the leadership of CKT general manager John Ebert. Significant support from Cooper North American and European operations also contributed, added Miller.
Taiwan’s Kenda, which operates factories and distribution centres in the USA, China and Vietnam in addition to those in the countries homeland go into the winter season looking to promote the company’s Polar Trax (KR19) tyre to the worldwide seasonal market. The company believes that “No matter how many safety features your vehicle has, it’s the tyres that enable you to handle it in the snow and ice.”
To emphasise this point, the manufacturer has placed a graphic of a peaked mountain with a snowflake on the tyre, signalling by way of symbols that the tyre has been designed to attain specifically snow traction performance requirements. The firm also says that the tyre “has been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions.”
Cooper Tire & Rubber has reportedly ceased production of its Starfire associate tyre range in North America, and the company may further reduce the number of brands it sells. Manufacture of Starfire tyres ended last year and, as inventories are now mostly depleted, Cooper has begun recommending ‘suitable alternatives’ for dealers that formerly sold the brand.
Cooper launched the Starfire brand in 1994 to fit between the Cooper and Mastercraft brands, and the range was produced in sizes for passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks. The range continues to be sold in Asia.
(Akron/Tire Review) Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. appointed Jeff Endicott as its new process improvement director, where he will oversee quality improvement, cost control and waste reduction for Cooper’s North America plants.
Most recently, Endicott served as technical director of the Cooper/Kenda Tire joint venture manufacturing facility in Kunshan, China.
(Akron/Tire Review/T&A) Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. posted record second quarter sales and quarterly and first half profits. Cooper’s quarterly sales hit US$751 million, up 20 per cent from the same period last year, and first half sales finished at $1.4 billion. Net income from second quarter sales were $17.6 million, up from a loss of $21 for the second quarter of 2006. For the first half, Cooper posted net income of $38 million, up from a loss of $26 million through the first six months of 2006.
Cooper said its North American tyre operations reported sales of $554 million in the quarter, up 20 per cent versus $463 million in the second quarter of 2006. The tyremaker said the increase was driven by improved pricing, increased unit sales across all market segments, and strong sales of private brand tyres. Operating profit for the unit was $23 million, compared to a net loss of $30 million in the second quarter last year. For the first six months of 2007, North American operations generated $51 million of operating profit on $1.09 billion of sales, up $36 million in profit year over year.
Cooper Tire has named two new executives for its operations in China. Andrew Weiwen Chen has been appointed the new deputy general manager for Cooper Chengshan Tire Company, as well as director of finance for Cooper China. Mr. Chen’s primary association will be with Cooper Chengshan, although he will also have some financial responsibilities for Cooper’s China operations.
Reporting to Chuck Taylor, Cooper Chengshan’s general manager, and Jerry Long, chief financial officer for Cooper Asia, Mr. Chen will manage business planning and analysis, accounting and reporting, budget preparation, and treasury requirements.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has reported net income of $21 million or 33 cents per share for the quarter ended March 31, 2007. The dramatically improved earnings were achieved as total sales increased by 16 per cent to a new first quarter record of $689 million. This compares to a net loss of $5 million generated on sales of $597 million in the first quarter of 2006.
During the quarter the company continued to benefit from the cost reduction and profit improvement initiatives it announced in September 2006 as well as improved price and mix in North America, and increased tyre unit sales in Europe and Asia. As a result, operating profit improved to $30 million in the first quarter of 2007 compared to an operating loss of $4 million in the first quarter of 2006.