Pirelli continues its stint as exclusive tyre supplier to Formula 1 as it returns to Bahrain for the first round of the 2024 season on Thursday 29 February to Saturday 2 March. This represents a scheduling change for the usual F1 weekend, with two practice sessions on the Thursday, qualifying on Friday, and the race on the Saturday. This will be retained the following weekend in Saudi Arabia. Formula 1 made the change to accommodate the start of Ramadan on the second Sunday of March. Pirelli says Formula 1 teams arrive in Sakhir with plenty of information about how the car and tyre package works on this particularly abrasive track, where traction and braking stability are key to performance: both on a flying lap as well as on longer runs. Pirelli has selected its three hardest compounds for the P Zero tyres it will supply in Bahrain; the C1 and C2 will be the hard and medium compounds for the race, while the C3 is the qualifying option.
Autotech Training has collaborated with the Petromin Corporation to provide a range of ongoing training support which will culminate in the opening of a unique training facility – the first of its kind within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Continental AG has made significant leadership changes within its Middle East operations. Specifically, Continental has welcomed back José De la Fuente as the managing director for the Middle East. De la Fuente brings a wealth of experience and expertise, having led Continental’s operations in Mexico as general director for tyres for the past five years. According to the company, his time in Mexico showcased “outstanding leadership and strategic acumen contributing to the growth and success of the company in the region”.
The British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to the UAE, Gareth Johnson MP, accompanied by UK Ambassador to the UAE, Edward Hobart recently visited Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ). The delegation discussed trade relations between the UK and the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and explored avenues for future cooperation and potential support for British companies looking to expand in the region.
Plans for two Saudi Arabia tyre factory projects were announced during 2022. In January 2022, Black Arrow Tire Company (Blatco) agreed to a tyre factory construction joint venture with Kumho. By June 2022, Kingdom Tyres, which describes itself as Saudi’s largest tyre producer, signed a provisional investment agreement with the Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu. Here Tyres & Accessories considers the latest developments with both projects and asks if the market is big enough for both factories?
The 13th China (Guangrao) International Rubber Tire & Auto Accessory Exhibition (ChinaGRTAE 2023), will be officially unveiled in a few days. On 8 May, a week before the start of the exhibition, the government of Dongying, the city to which Guangrao County belongs, held a press conference on the overall situation relating to the exhibition. At the time, the organisers said that between 15-17 May at least 20,000 professional visitors will participate in the exhibition, and more than 800 foreign businessmen would visit. Tyrepress has China learned that the theme of this exhibition is “Gathering the power of the industrial chain; Building a new development pattern”. In terms of format, ChinaGRTAE 2023 will be mainly offline and supplemented by online.
Goodyear has appointed Hamzeh Afaneh as director of its commercial tyre business in the Middle East & Africa (MEA). Afaneh has spent almost sixteen years in the tyre business, occupying a series of sales and business development roles based in Jordan and the UAE with Bridgestone, Continental and most recently Goodyear as commercial regional manager in early 2021. He led Goodyear’s team for the Gulf Cooperations Council (GCC) and near East regions, growing commercial tyre sales and delivering tailored digital solutions to customers. He was the recipient of Goodyear’s Chairman’s Award in 2022. Announcing his appointment, the company notes his experience of brand marketing, sales and business development across the region.
Grupo Alves Bandeira’s MatraX Tyres brand experienced “an extremely productive” debut at Automechanika Dubai, according to the distributor. The expansive MatraX stand showcased the full MatraX range of PCR, high performance, SUV and 4×4 tyres. The MatraX Urcola, Veragua FX and Morucha patterns were featured on the stand, emphasising products suited to high-performance cars.
Rema Tip Top and Al Dobowi Industrial Rubber Services have formed a joint venture that will provide industrial services across the Middle East and North Africa. Called Rema Tip Top Middle East, the joint venture aims to be a “leading engineering and service provider” in the region.
Vikram Garga is the new group head of marketing for Apollo Tyres in the Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA) region. Announcing Garga’s appointment, Apollo says the industry veteran will spearhead the regional marketing team and take responsibility for marketing and product strategy for all product categories, dealer programmes, brand positioning and monitoring performance in conjunction with sales. Based out of Apollo Tyres’ corporate headquarters in Gurugram, India, Garga will report to Satish Sharma president of Apollo Tyres’ APMEA business.
Kumho Tire representatives have confirmed reports that the South Korean tyremaker has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Saudi tyre business Black Arrow Tire Co (Blatco). However, the two parties differ on the degree of progress made with the talks.
Various news sources are reporting that South Korea’s Kumho Tire signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabia-based Blatco (Black Arrow Tire Co. as part of the Saudi-South Korean Business Forum on 18 January 2022. As many as 13 agreements were signed during the Saudi-South Korean Business Forum, of which 10 were signed by oil major Saudi Aramco.
Vipal Rubber has restructured the commercial coverage area of several key regional subsidiaries, and as a result, its European branch office is now serving important markets in North Africa, such as Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, as well as main business partners in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The retreading materials and tyre repair specialist made this change to capitalised on the branch’s closer geographic proximity and similar time zone, and thus greater ease in carrying out technical, after-sales and training visits.
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.