In January 2019, the ground was broken on the US$614 million Roadbot tyre plant in Abu Dhabi. Local news sources described the project as a milestone in the capital of the United Arab Emirates as recently as January 2020. However, the project has since hit a roadblock as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tyres & Accessories has seen documents that show how recent progress has been limited, though initial steps seem to have progressed well. Specifically, the official letter from Roadbot Tyre Industries dated July 2020 confirms that all the necessary planning applications, architectural designs and structure drawings have been approved and completed. Yet critical machinery work came to a standstill in March 2020.
Pyramids Tires, a new tyre manufacturer based in Port Said, northeast Egypt, saw its first tyres roll off the production line on 9 May 2020. The factory currently manufactures motorcycle, forklift and agricultural tyres as part of the first phase of the plant’s development. The second phase, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022, will see the company add passenger car, truck and OTR tyres to its portfolio.
The 18th edition of Automechanika Dubai, which was scheduled to run from 7-9 June 2020, will now take place from 19-21 October 2020 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The postponement comes in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as containment measures restrict movement across international borders, and impact the global economy.
Davanti Tyres has appointed Najib Chakhtoura sales director for the Middle East and Africa, in order to establish a “permanent presence” in the region. Chakhtoura is tasked with developing relationships with new and existing distributors to increase the brand’s global reach and sales volume. He previously held senior roles developing premium brands across the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and North and East Africa. Chakhtoura will establish a new regional office for Davanti to introduce the brand into new territories across North, East and West Africa, the Gulf States and the wider Middle East.
Various road and climatic conditions are encountered within the Continental Tire division’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) business, and for this reason, it is introducing commercial trailer tyres that reflect regional requirements. The first of these is the Conti Hybrid HT3 WR.
Yokohama’s Geolandar M/T G003 tyres for SUVs and pickup trucks will be fitted to the Korando DKR driven by Oscar Fuertes Aldanondo and Diego Vallejo for Ssangyong Motorsport/Sodicars Racing on the 2020 Dakar Rally (5-17 January). The same car and drivers came in third in the T1.3 petrol 2-wheel drive class in the January 2019 event, and will take on competition in the same class this year.
Goodyear will be the official tyre supplier to two top teams in the upcoming Dakar Rally. The rally returns to its roots in the desert on 5 January in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and the shift to a new continent presents new challenges to tyre suppliers, drivers and vehicles. The 2020 rally will run over sand dunes, rocky canyons and wadis or dry riverbeds, all on standard truck tyres. Goodyear has a strong record on the rally in recent years, with Petronas De Rooy Iveco occupying podium places, including two first places, with Goodyear as their tyre and development partner.
Apollo Tyres Ltd has entered the Saudi Arabia tyre market in cooperation with Al-Jomaih Tyres Company Limited, the exclusive distributors for the Kingdom. Apollo Tyres reports that it will be focussing on the large and growing truck-bus radial and passenger car tyre market, aiming to capture “a sizeable market share” in each of these segments.
From 1 January 2020, Bridgestone’s India business will fall into the EMEA Strategic Business Unit (SBU), transferring from the China, Asia-Pacific SBU. As a result, Bridgestone Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa (BSEMEA) will become Bridgestone Europe, Russia, Middle East, India and Africa (BSEMIA), one of four SBUs globally, alongside Bridgestone China, Asia-Pacific, Bridgestone Americas, and Bridgestone Japan. According to the company, the integration of Bridgestone India into EMEA comes as a result of Bridgestone EMEA’s “ongoing transformation capitalising on the opportunities digitalisation offers to pioneer mobility solutions that meet the needs of customers for convenience, efficiency and sustainability”.
As of 1 October, Mete Ekin is vice president of Bridgestone Emerging Markets. In this role he oversees Bridgestone EMEA’s businesses in Africa, the Middle East and Russia. The former regional managing director Middle East and Africa reports to Paolo Ferrari, chief executive officer of Bridgestone EMEA.
Michelin has opened new Africa, India and the Middle East (AIM) operations headquarters at the Dubai Airport Freezone in Dubai.
The official opening ceremony took place at the new headquarters in the presence of dignitaries including Dr Mohammed Al Zarooni, director general of Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA); Marc Pasquet, president for Michelin, Africa, India and the Middle East (AIM); and Raja Rabia, Consul General of France. The new facility will be managing 87 offices across the region.
Sri Lanka-based speciality tyre manufacturer GRI reports that it has acquired the Estonia-based Nortire Group. Headquartered in Estonia, with a branch in Latvia and two branches in Lithuania, Nortire is a speciality tyre distributor. According to GRI, the acquisition will further expand the GRI’s global tyre service network, while attaining a significant foothold in the North European tyre market. The news follows a non-acquisition Middle East strategic partnership with Al-Dobowi in April 2019.
Continental is planning to open a Middle East regional office in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The joint venture project with the company’s previous distributor in Saudi Arabia, Almutlak Trade & Industries, will support growing demand for Continental’s products and services in the kingdom, according to the company.
Russia and Saudi Arabia will finalize several joint projects by the end of 2018, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak recently told journalists. The projects referred to see Saudi Aramco partner with Russain firms Sibur and Novatek. The Sibur plant plans centre on a particularly significantly sized rubber factory.