Passenger car tyre production and capacity at Apollo Tyres’ Gyöngyöshalász plant in Hungary has steadily grown over the past two years. These respectively reached 2.1 million and almost 3 million units a year by the end of March 2019, and Apollo is still ramping up in Hungary. It’s a different story in Enschede, some 700 miles to the west, but Apollo Tyres says it isn’t preparing to end car tyre production in the Netherlands any time soon.
As of 1 July, Brussels-based Continental subsidiary Continental Benelux has taken over exclusive distribution of Continental car, van and industrial tyres in the Netherlands from Continental Banden Groep (CBG). Continental Benelux is already responsible for the Continental commercial vehicle tyre range in this market, having taken on direct distribution five years ago.
We’ve been following the progress of Algeria’s first homegrown tyre company, and in March reported that the Iris Tyre plant had completed its first test phase. Now the new tyre maker is ready not only to gain a foothold in the domestic market – Iris Tyre intends to export its output to numerous markets. It will present its range at the CITExpo trade fair in Shanghai next month.
During a conference call held this month, the chief financial officer of Apollo Tyres Ltd. confirmed that passenger car tyre production at the Apollo Vredestein plant in Enschede, the Netherlands would be reduced as capacity for these products grows in the company’s new, more cost-competitive facility in Gyöngyöshalász, Hungary. However, this trend shouldn’t be seen as a transfer of capacity, as the plan for Enschede going forwards is for its continued utilisation, with greater emphasis placed upon other segments.
According to information published by Pirelli and based upon regional association and third-party data, the European car tyre market grew six per cent year-on-year in May 2018. Overall growth occurred courtesy of strong performance within the aftermarket, which during the month was ten per cent higher than a year earlier; the market for 18-inch and larger sizes were up 20 per cent. The original equipment market in Europe declined five per cent year-on-year in May.
A new Cooper summer tyre line for small to mid-size cars has been unveiled. Called the Cooper CS7, the new tyre is the successor to the 2010-launched CS2 range. Cooper Tire Europe says the latest-generation product is quieter than its predecessor and has “been developed to incorporate technological features that make driving both enjoyable and economical.”
An open relationship after 22 years of monogamy: German wholesaler Reifen Gundlach has lost exclusive distribution of the GT Radial passenger car tyre range in Germany. Although remaining a close bedfellow of brand owner Giti Tire, from the start of the coming winter season it will share this bed with three other wholesalers.
According to a news report from Japan, production capacity at the Sumitomo Rubber (Hunan) Co. Ltd passenger car tyre plant in Changsa, China will treble by 2020. Nikkei Asian Review writes that Sumitomo Rubber Industries will invest some 30 billion yen (£205 million) in its subsidiary to increase daily output from 20,000 to 60,000 pieces. The publication adds that the company aims for a daily capacity of 100,000 passenger car tyres in China, an amount that anticipates growing demand for fuel-saving tyres.
An agreement was reached last week on the fourth phase of expansion at the Continental passenger car tyre factory in Hefei, China. In a Chinese-language statement, the Hefei Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone reports that a signing ceremony was held on 5 July to mark the start of a project that will see capacity at the Hefei plant rise by 2 million tyres a year over the next half-decade, from a current capacity of 8 million tyres per annum to 20 million passenger car tyres a year by 2022.
According to one Japanese publication, Yokohama Rubber will launch a second car tyre line in Europe this year under the Alliance brand name. The Nikkei Asian Review reports that the Alliance-branded passenger car tyres will be manufactured in Japan and that European retailers – it names the UK, France, Germany and Spain as four target markets – may have stocks of the tyres by May 2017.
The GT Radial SportActive became available around a year ago as a new flagship tyre for the brand, distributed in the UK by Micheldever. Towards the end of 2016, Giti Tire held an event for its wholesale partner and a large group of its most successful dealers in Vilamoura, Portugal, with track-based demonstrations of the tyre’s capabilities at Portimao’s Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. GT Radial has leveraged a racing partnership before to market the tyre in the UK; it partnered consumer high performance driving magazine Evo for its popular 2016 series of track day events at the Bedford Autodrome, making its tyres available for amateur racing enthusiasts to try out on vehicles such as the Audi S3, Golf GTI, BMW 340i and Toyota GT86.
The company supplying as many as a fifth of all car tyres fitted to new vehicles manufactured and sold in China is preparing for the European launch of its flagship brand, and has its sights on both the original equipment and replacement markets in our region. With its new, designed-for-Europe Giti range, Giti Tire aims to become “an established original equipment supplier and recognised technology partner in Europe.” Three product lines will be introduced into a key initial market in the coming months ahead of a wider European rollout.
Prices for truck and bus tyres sold by Bridgestone Europe rose today, and a new price structure will also apply to car and motorcycle tyres as of 1 January 2017. The average price of Bridgestone and Firestone truck and bus tyres has gone up by one per cent, while passenger car and motorcycle tyre prices will increase by an average of three per cent. The revisions are non-linear and vary across the different product ranges.
Davanti has launched its latest passenger car tyres; a product designed to meet the needs of the growing SUV market, and one for the compact car market. The former is the DX740, engineered to offer SUV drivers a balance of wet, dry and muddy grip, and a comfortable drive in any conditions on any surface. For drivers of smaller cars the DX240 is designed for low noise in addition to good all-round performance characteristics in wet and dry conditions. The tyres were previewed in October, and are now available alongside the rest of its growing range.
A successor to Hankook’s Ventus Prime² has been launched in readiness for the European summer. No prizes will be awarded for guessing what the new tyre is called – Hankook has chosen to carry over the successful Ventus Prime name into the range’s third generation. Tyrepress.com will cover this new flagship comfort tyre in detail following a hands-on launch event early next month, however what we can tell you now is that Hankook claims the Ventus Prime³ delivers approximately eight per cent better wet braking and three per cent greater dry braking performance over the predecessor tyre, along with nine per cent more wear resistance.