With the forecast of a turnover of 190 million Euro in 2003, wheel producer BBS (Germany) will significantly improve on its 2002 results (175 m). For the first nine months of this business year the company has announced an increase in turnover of 9.1 per cent and so was better than the industry average. The gain comes from OE business with an increase of 14 per cent, whereas aftermarket and income from motorsports and licensing was below the 2002 figure. The share of foreign business has fallen to 49.2 per cent. BBS expects to make a small profit in 2003.
Bridgestone Europe is best-known as a supplier of high performance tyres, thanks largely to its presence in Formula 1, but the company has reported that it is gaining OE business in all sectors of the car market, from micro cars to off-road vehicles. The latest OE successes for Bridgestone include the Peugeot 307 and Land Rover Freelander.
From the beginning of May, Superior Industries has been supplying Mitsubishi Motors North America with three types of cast aluminium wheels for the 2004 model Endeavour SUV. This expands Superior’s OE business even further, with the company supplying a number of auto manufacturers, from Audi through to VW.
Allied Wheels International, based in Rochester, Kent, has been bought by Fintrade. It is expected that existing staff will be retained and the company intends to develop a range of wheels for the aftermarket, while continuing with its current OE business.
Michelin recently took the decision to abandon OE orders from GM Europe as the company wants to concentrate on OE business in the more lucrative high performance segment. Michelin said that its North American business with GM is not affected (Michelin is GM’s second largest tyre supplier, with the Uniroyal, BFGoodrich and Michelin brands) but it now appears that GM North America does not want to consider Michelin for future OE projects.
Bridgestone/Firestone is to triple its investment in South Africa to around 15 million US dollars. Chairman Takashi Wada states that this is part of a drive to build market share and improve exports. There are expectations of increased OE business with Ford, GM, Toyota and BMW. The aim is to make the South African operation the third largest in the Bridgestone portfolio.
Worldwide, the Bridgestone group has won new and additional OE business from General Motors, the world’s largest purchaser of tyres. Continental too will supply more tyres this year than last. It is said that Michelin asked for a significant price increase and voluntarily gave up supply volumes.
Hankook is to deliver spare tyres, size 125/80-17, for the Volvo models S 60, S 80, C 70 (Cabriolet) and V 70. The order volume is approx. 200,000 units and the profit margin is described as “satisfactory”. Hankook is also entering the OE business in China. The manufacturer is to deliver tyre sizes 195/65-15 (H and V-rated) as well as 205/60-15 (V-rated) for the VW models Passat and Bora.
In discussions with analysts from the DB Group, Goodyear management expressed optimism that it might achieve a larger slice of OE business from the Detroit car manufacturers, at the expense of Firestone. Goodyear said it had received an order from Ford for 1.8 million tyres and is hoping for another big order from General Motors. Spokesmen from Goodyear said that they would resist Chrysler’s request for price reductions in order to overcome the difficult situation at Chrysler. At the end of January, many contracts between Firestone and its dealers expire and Goodyear is confident of winning over many of these dealers. On the other hand, Goodyear admits that the medium and heavy truck business will remain difficult during 2001. All in all, the analysts see more positives than negative risks at the moment, but they did not recommend Goodyear shares.
Goodyear’s net income for the fourth quarter of last year amounted to US$ 47.8 million compared with US$ 121.5 million in the fourth quarter of 1998. The company’s net income for the whole of 1999 was US$ 241.1 million compared to US$ 682.3 million in 1998.
Werner Flebbe has been made responsible for Continental’s entire agricultural tyre business. Marketing and sales worldwide will be managed by Thorsten Bublitz and OE business worldwide by Fritz Reupert. Reupert’s successor for aftermarket business is Rainer Lüpkes.
“Ronal is back in the aftermarket” is the current message of the leading European aluminium wheel producer Ronal (Germany), who concentrated on oe business during recent years. With a complete program, availability and optimised market service, Ronal wants to return to its former strong position in the aftermarket.
The structure of the Trelleborg group (Sweden) has changed because of several acquisitions and sales of business units within last twelve months. The tyre and wheel business – included in the business unit Trelleborg Wheel Systems (TWS) and in which Pirelli is a joint venture partner – has improved sales by 7% (compared with the first half year 1999) and profits by 28%. OE business in agricultural tyres was positive, but the aftermarket continued to be slightly weak. Industrial tyres were in strong demand in North America and Korea, while the European market recovered slightly.
With the sale of assets Titan International (Quincy/Illinois), a manufacturer of speciality tyres and wheels, has exited the oe business with lawn and garden equipment as well as all terrain vehicles (ATVs) and improved its second quarter results due to the price paid by Carlisle Tire and Wheel Co. The new strategy of Titan will be to concentrate on agricultural and construction wheel business and tyre assemblies and to focus more on aftermarket demands.