Seven months after officially starting the project construction workers building Cooper/Kenda’s joint venture manufacturing plant have almost finished. The 800,000-square-foot manufacturing facility is situated in an industrial park in Kunshan, a suburb west of Shanghai. This first phase of the project is expected to be completed by December.
(Akron/Tire Review) With its operations in China growing quickly, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. brought in an outside expert to head that business. Margaret Sheng was named vice president of Cooper’s China operations and will be based in Shanghai, China.
Most recently, Sheng was regional executive director for Lear Corp. in central and southern China, and she has worked as director, general manager and operations manager for automotive manufacturers in China, Spain, the Philippines and US.
Kenda Tires has completed the long-term test of its latest snow tyre. According to the company, the Polar Trax KR19 is designed to supply the grip and traction on the ice, snow, and wet road conditions. The new product will now be launched into the European market.
Kenda reports that it has produced its latest offering with winter road conditions in mind. The Polar Trax features what the company called a “premium twine construction” and drainage grooves for more efficient water clearance. Handling ability is said to have been enhanced by a special silica compound, which Kenda claims is an essential element when it comes to preventing aquaplaning. The tyre’s zigzag sipes also provide traction and grip to cope with the winter roads.
(Akron/Tire Review) Workers at Cooper Tire & Rubber’s Texarkana, Arkansas, tyre plant remained on strike today, as talks between the tyre maker and United Steelworkers of America (USWA) negotiators are said to be continuing. USWA represented employees walked off the job 12 March when their contract with Cooper, which had been extended from an earlier 6 March deadline, finally expired.
Cooper has expanded its Far Eastern presence with a joint venture with Taiwanese tyre manufacturer Kenda. The two companies will build a plant to make radial passenger and light truck tyres, which will be situated in the Jiangsu Province of the People’s Republic of China and jointly owned by the two manufacturers. Construction will begin in the middle of next year, with tyre production starting late 2005. The tyres will be aimed at markets outside China. Speaking of the deal, Cooper’s Thomas A. Dattilo said: “It will allow us to add capacity and lower costs in our tyre business. It also gives us a base for sales in China down the road as the Chinese market increases significantly over the next decade.”
An agreement has been reached whereby Taiwanese tyre manufacturer Kenda will make passenger car radials for Cooper-Avon. Cooper says that a number of brand names will be manufactured, including Cooper and Avon, initially T-rated tyres and, again initially, for sale in Europe. The agreement frees up valuable capacity for high performance tyre production at Cooper-Avon’s Melksham plant, says Managing Director Ron Shield.