Nexen Tire has invested in US autonomous driving start-up May Mobility. Conducting the transaction via its Silicon Valley-based initiative Next Century Ventures (NCV), the Korean tyre maker participated in May Mobility’s US$111 million C Series funding.
Urban planners anticipate a decline in individual car ownership and commensurate increase in use of infrastructure-type vehicles to move people and goods in years to come, and Yokohama Rubber is now planning for this in its newly-announced medium-term management plan, Yokohama Transformation 2023. The company intends this successor to the 2018-launched Grand Design 2020 (GD2020) three-year plan to “serve as the platform” for its growth over the next three years.
The ongoing effects of import tariffs, Brexit uncertainty and structural changes in the distribution chain have all affected the tyre business this year. As well as featuring the latest motorsport news and covering market developments in our regular features, this month’s Tyres & Accessories focuses on a number of key examples of changes in the marketplace in our Review of the Year feature. But one trend stands out above the others – virtualization. In short, increasing moves towards electric and autonomous vehicles (complete with their inherent sensorisation tendencies), coupled with changes in vehicle (and tyre) ownership models such as MaaS (Mobility as a Service) are driving changes in the tyre market that are resulting in the virtualizing of parts of the distribution chain.
Goodyear has started to pilot a new predictive digital service with Borrow, a short-term, fully electric car subscription company based in West Hollywood, California. Reflecting the tyre manufacturer’s increasing interest in future mobility services, Goodyear is using its predictive tyre servicing solution for connected fleets to forecast and automatically schedule needed tyre maintenance and replacement. Leveraging Goodyear’s expertise in tyres, the cloud-based platform predicts and automatically schedules tyre servicing via vehicle data and proprietary algorithms.
It is not unusual for the start of the year to be replete with corporate acquisitions. Some even happen while much of the western world is enjoying Christmas and new year holidays. While European FinTyre Distribution (EfTD) did indeed enact the latest move in its ongoing strategic purchasing programme during the 2018 holiday break, it seems that this year February was the month of choice for getting the chequebooks out, with Bridgestone, Michelin and – in the UK at least – Goodyear all announcing strategic spending. For different but connected reasons all three challenge us to consider the impact of changing mobility trends.