While the world is still adjusting to the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been no small measure of disruption in the standings of the world’s leading tyre manufacturers, according to our latest top 25 table. Six of the top 10 have changed places this time round, with the headline news being that Michelin has regained pole position after several years of having Bridgestone in first place. At the same time, Continental has stepped up into third position, leapfrogging the previous incumbent Goodyear.
Shandong Linglong Tire Co. Ltd is investing 6.066 billion yuan (£669.678 million; 779.348 million euros; US$949.830 million) in its latest tyre factory. Tyres & Accessories has confirmed that the roughly billion-dollar Tongchuan City factory project will put sustainability at the heart of its plans, which include largescale retread capacity.
The board of Shandong Linglong Tire Co., Ltd has agreed to build its sixth Chinese tyre factory in Tongchuan City, Shaanxi Province. The construction site is located in Dongjiahe Circular Economy Industrial Park, Yaozhou District, Tongchuan City, Shaanxi Province and will be home to large and modern factory manufacturing tyres for a wide range of business segments.
The board of Shandong Linglong Tire Company Ltd has revised its 10-year “medium and long-term development plan (2020-2030)” to focus on a 7+5 rather than a 6+6 tyre manufacturing capacity expansion model. Up till April 2020, Linglong has worked according to a 5+3 plan, but last year this was upgraded to 6+6, meaning the company plans to run six tyre factories in China as well as six situated in international locations. However, according a stock market filing dated 10 June 2021, Linglong’s board voted unanimously in favour of running a total of seven plants in China and five internationally.
The Nova Force Acro is the latest generation performance tyre from Leao Tire, a sub-brand of Linglong Tire. Tuned for “ultra-high performance luxury cars,” Linglong says the development of the tyre began with the extensive use of FEA simulation in the early product design stage. Using these methods to analyse and optimise overall tyre stress and strain distribution, Linglong says it improved the durability of the new Leao tyre.
Linglong is introducing a new range of European focused car tyres in 2021, all carrying the new “Master” brand. The UHP Sport Master represents a big leap forward for the manufacturer in terms of wet grip, with a 17 per cent improvement over its previous UHP products snaring it an A grade on the tyre label. Linglong says its new summer UHP tyre inherits the genes of its D1 racing tyres; the Linglong Tire Drift Team Orange won two annual championships in the Japanese D1 Grand Prix 2020. The manufacturer adds that this sporting pedigree accounts for around 20 per cent of the tyre’s performance – its sporty handling – with the other 80 per cent tuned for regular driving performance.
Linglong Tire won three awards at the FAW 2021 Supply Chain Partner Conference, which took place in Changchun, China on 15 and 16 April. FAW Group honoured the tyre maker with the Collaborative Innovation·Qizhi, R&D Collaboration and Excellent R&D Supplier awards.
After hiatus last year, the NTDA’s Tyre Industry Awards will be back in 2021, according to the association’s chief executive Stefan Hay.
The Awards are scheduled to be presented to the winners at a ceremony sponsored by Sailun at the NTDA Annual Dinner, which is due to take place on the evening of Thursday 7 October 2021 at the ICC Birmingham, following the daytime Tyre Industry Conference sponsored by GB Tyres Ltd in association with Linglong Tire.
Following last month’s preview of the 2021 report, Brand Finance has released its full Tyres 10 ranking. According to the 2021 table, the tyre sector has taken a hit over the last year, with all 10 brands losing brand value. Brand Finance unsurprisingly puts this decline down to the pandemic-related behavioural changes: “Owing to the lack of travel due to lockdowns, car sales are declining, which means tyre brands are selling less units, resulting in a drop in market equity across the industry. Furthermore, since the economy has been riskier in general over the past year, investor risk has increased, triggering a rise in the cost of capital.”
The three summer products in Linglong’s ‘Master’ series are the Comfort Master performance tyre, Sport Master ultra-high performance tyre and the Grip Master C/S performance line for SUVs. For winter, Linglong will offer the Nord Master studless tyre.
Shandong Linglong Tyre Company’s share price reached a record high of 53.80 yuan on 10 February 2021 just before the Chinese New Year. The price drew back in the days afterwards, but the peak represents an all-time high for Linglong that is over 40 per cent higher than the company’s previous record of 38.18, which was set on 22 July 2016.
Towards the end of last year, Linglong Tire announced it would bring its new Hubtrac tyre brand to Europe. The tyre maker also intends to sell this commercial range in the USA, taking advantage of its production site in Thailand and under-construction facility in Serbia to avoid the country’s anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese products.
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.
Linglong Tire brought its Hubtrac brand to market in October 2020. The release will see more than 150 stock-keeping units (SKUs) launched in European market in stages. The new brand will be produced at Linglong’s global production bases including its Thailand and Serbia plants. The European market-orientated range has been designed with the forthcoming 2021 tyre labelling update and enhanced retreadability in mind.