One year into their partnership, TRW and Michelin announce their first business award with a major European original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The product, called “En Tire”, is a state-of-the-art tyre pressure monitoring (TPM) system underscored by the radio frequency technology of TRW and the tyre experience of Michelin. To extend beyond their existing development programmes, TRW and Michelin are actively the next generation TPM system for production in 2005.
General Motors recently introduced a “Precept Technology Demonstration Vehicle” at the Detroit Motor Show as part of the project PNGV (Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles) – a co-operation of American car makers, suppliers and the federal government. The concept car is fitted with the lightest 3.8 kg 16-inch fabricated aluminium wheels by Hayes Lemmerz.
Continental has announced it will be acquiring a 15% share in Indian tyre manufacturer, Apollo Tyres. According to Indian media sources, the acquisition will enable Continental to build up a technological relationship with the Indian tyre market and there are plans to develop a truck tyre factory on a greenfield site in Pune. At the moment, neither Continental or Apollo Tyres have confirmed the partnership.
Pirelli sold a 90% share (Cisco holds 10%) in the very young company Optical Technologies. OT has around 100 employees and a first half-year turnover of US$ 12 m. Turnover for the whole year is expected to be US$ 30 m. Optimistic observers speculated that the price would be around US$ 1 bn, while Pirelli in fact received slightly over US$ 3 bn (after tax) in cash. According to the management, acquisitions in the tyre field are unlikely, but it may be that Pirelli can bring forward the introduction of its MIRS system faster than expected. Pirelli is, and will remain, in partnership with Michelin and Goodyear to promote the PAX system.
In Kenya, Goodyear has formed a partnership with leading retreader Treadsetters. The new company will be called Goodyear Kenya and will begin operations from its Nairobi HQ in January, dealing in new Goodyear tyres. According to Goodyear Logistics Director Gordon Wilmot, the partnership has been formed to exploit the large market potential.
Deutsche Bank has announced that it will sell-off its industrial holdings which are worth about 40 billion Euro based on current share prices. This move has been made possible by recent German tax reform, effective from 2002, which makes capital gains by corporations tax free. The Bank has an 8 p.c. stake in the German tyre manufacturer Continental which is presently worth about 200 million Euro.