In our August edition, this column examined how “the clocking is ticking for combustion engines”, which also means the clock is ticking for conventional tyres designed with combustion engine-centric vehicles in mind. Four months later, both points are true. However, there are also significant challenges facing this market development that also warrant our attention.
Two of the obstacles between the status quo and the electric vehicle car parc of the future are charging points and technological recall risk.
Talk to westerners and they see China as a relative newcomer to the global tyre industry table. Talk to Chinese people and they may just point out that China has been the world’s leading tyre producing nation since 2005. Indeed, full-year 2016 figures show that 600 million tyres were “made in China”, many of which were passenger car and light truck products. However, China now wants to move on from its reputation as being the biggest tyre producing nation and progress towards a renewed emphasis on quality and technology. Tyres & Accessories spoke with Mary Xu, the China Rubber Industry Association (CRIA) deputy secretary general, in order to find out more about how the Chinese tyre industry wants to move from biggest to best.
Falken’s status as the official tyre partner of Liverpool Football Club is one of the latest in an extended series of tyre and football partnerships. Tyres & Accessories took the opportunity of Falken’s first event at Anfield to ask director and senior executive officer, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Yutaka Kuroda and chief commercial officer and managing director at Liverpool FC Billy Hogan to illustrate how the partnership will be used to benefit both parties. In addition to the particular synergies between the club and tyre brand, their answers also illustrate why there has been such a boom in partnerships between top-tier football clubs and tyres in recent years.
In August Chinese tyre manufacturer Jiangsu General Science Technology Co. Ltd established a base in the USA. At the same businesses unfamiliar with the firm took an interest. With this in mind, during a recent visit to China, Tyres & Accessories met with Jiangsu General general manager Wang Xiao Jun in order to find out more about the company.
Aeolus has launched its third generation of truck and bus radial tyres in a large dealer event on the shores – and water – of Lake Maggiore in northern Italy. Readers of Tyres & Accessories will know that this location is highly appropriate for the Chinese company; the introduction of the new, extensive product range comes at a moment when the ChemChina produced brand is preparing for its future positioning as a second-line sister range to Pirelli in the commercial segment. While the exact relationship of Pirelli and Aeolus continues to be fluidly complex, the Italian brand’s recent separation of its commercial tyre operations under the Prometeon Tyre Group banner give a good indication of where Aeolus commercial tyres are heading.
The Pirelli Calendar is a survivor. While other pin-up calendars from within our industry have long been banished to workshop tearooms to avoid offending customers, Pirelli’s handiwork is hailed as iconic by countless people around the world, including those ignorant of the company’s day job as tyre maker. Followers of this most famous of all corporate freebie calendars eagerly await the launch of a new edition, and today their cup of joy is surely overflowing. At a high-budget event in New York, Pirelli has unveiled next year’s Cal.
Michelin’s new X Multi range of commercial vehicle tyres for regional and long haul transportation applications, launched in the UK earlier in 2017 at the CV Show, has been extended with the addition of two new drive sizes – 315/60R22.5 and 295/60R22.5. These X Multi D fitments are particularly targeted at car transporters and low-height 4×2 tractor units, on which they are popular sizes. The manufacturer took the opportunity of the extensions to the X Multi range to host Tyres & Accessories at its recently redeveloped research and development campus in Ladoux, just outside Clermont-Ferrand, introducing one of its latest joint ventures which has helped enhance the production process for the latest Michelin commercial and consumer tyres. It also demonstrated the X Multi range’s performance characteristics against competitors at its proving ground.
Avon Tyres and Caterham marked 60 years of the car manufacturer’s Seven as Sir Chris Hoy took on a 60 Second Donut Challenge at Donington Park. Hoy completed a record 19 consecutive donuts in the time allocation in Caterham’s most powerful model, the Seven 620R on Avon’s ZZS tyres.
Compromise is a word often associated with the all-season tyre segment, and in its 2017/18 all-season tyre test, Auto Express has endorsed the product it views as representing the smallest compromise in year-round UK conditions. This tyre is the Michelin CrossClimate+
At its meeting ending on 1 November 2017, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted by a majority of 7-2 to increase Bank Rate by 0.25 percentage points, to 0.5 per cent. The Committee voted unanimously to maintain the stock of sterling non-financial investment-grade corporate bond purchases, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, at £10 billion. The Committee also voted unanimously to maintain the stock of UK government bond purchases, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, at £435 billion.
After seven years and 88 events, Dmack has won its first FIA World Rally Championship event – on its home round at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB. Elfyn Evans became the first Welsh driver to win the UK’s round of the championship after he and co-driver Dan Barritt dominated the demanding event – leading from start to finish and winning by 37.3 seconds.
MRF Tyres scored a hat-trick of sleeve sponsorships deals with Premier League football teams in September – signing Newcastle United, West Ham United, and West Bromwich Albion in one-season deals that last until May 2018. The move can only be seen as a concerted effort to raise brand awareness ahead of the widespread introduction of MRF car tyres in the UK
In 2012 the EU introduced plans to support consumers with better information about a tyre’s noise, wet-braking and rolling resistance performance. Since then, Japanese, South Korean and US variants have been either mooted or implemented. However, the world’s largest tyre market (China), is also close to releasing its own labelling system – or should that be systems? Tyres & Accessories saw two labelling variants during the recent Tire+ exhibition in Shanghai and discussed the subject with a number of firms exhibiting there.
Groundbreaking has taken place on the new tyre technology centre that Nexen Tire is setting up in the US, and the South Korean company also reports that plans to establish a factory in North America are “in progress.”