The conflict in Ukraine has impacted upon operations at Continental’s tyre factory in Kaluga, Russia. A spokesman confirmed to Tyrepress.com that the company has “suspended tyre production intended for export at our plant in Kaluga until further notice.”
As part of our ongoing coverage of the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, Tyres & Accessories asked one of the world’s leading tyremakers, Bridgestone, a series of questions about its operations in Russia and the Ukraine.
Tyres and poor vehicle maintenance could be contributing to the stalling Russian military effort north of Kyiv. The UK defence ministry has reported that Russia’s 40-mile military convoy in northern Ukraine has made no significant progress for several days, stalled on the roads leading into the Ukranian capital, Kyiv, and hampered by equipment malfunctions and improvised roadblocks. So why does the Russian military not simply forge off-road routes to aid progress? According to military history blogger and retired US Department of Defense civil servant Trent Telenko, the combination of Ukraine’s mud season, or “Rasputitsa” and the poor state of Russian military vehicles’ tyres make such moves extremely difficult to make.
Volkswagen AG has stopped the production of vehicles in Russia until further notice. This decision applies to the site in Kaluga, which produced the VW Tiguan, Polo and Škoda Rapid and made 118,000 vehicles last year, as well as Nizhny Novgorod, where it built VW and Škoda models under a contract with GAZ Group. Vehicle exports to Russia have also been stopped with immediate effect.
The crisis currently unfolding in Ukraine is placing logistics and transportation in Europe under strain, and like many manufacturers, Michelin Group is facing “major” issues supplying its plants and delivering to customers. The company says it will work to “optimise operations and adapt flow management” by stopping production at some of its European plants for a few days in the coming weeks. Each site will decide specific duration and implementation.
Despite the war in neighbouring Ukraine and the resulting sanctions imposed on Russia by the international community, as of 2 March 2022, company representatives told Tyres & Accessories the Yokohama’s Russian tyre manufacturing operation in Lipetsk, 500 kilometres south of Moscow, is running as normal.
In light of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the resultant sanctions against Russia, Tyres & Accessories asked the well-known automotive supplier and premium tyre manufacturer for its perspective on the situation. In response, an official statement from the Continental Tire Group Sector explained: “We are following the war against the Ukraine with great concern. Our thoughts are with the people affected and we hope that the combat operations end as quickly as possible.”
OTR tyre specialist Titan International, which owns the Voltyre-Prom tyre manufacturing operation in Russia, is bracing itself for “the potential impact of bans, sanction programs, and boycotts…” due to Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. However, deep in the detail of Titan’s strong fourth-quarter 2021 reports which were published today (3 March 2022), executives affirm that “the impact of the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine has not had a significant impact on global operations”.
Nynas has halted the purchase of feedstock of Russian origin. Sales to customers in Russia and Belarus have also been stopped. According to the petrochemical company which supplies tyre industry, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and “its tragic consequences throughout the region” prompted Nynas to reconsider its supplies from Russia and also sales to the country.
A number of Bridgestone’s tyre factories in North and South America have been hit by cyberattacks resulting in production shutdowns. Some sources have even suggested that the actions are linked to the war in Ukraine.
Koelnmesse, the organisers of The Tire Cologne exhibitiom, are suspending cooperation with Russian companies in support of the people of Ukraine. Writing in statement published online on 1 March 2022, Gerald Baese, CEO of Koelnmesse GmbH said:
The team at Borbet in Germany’s Hochsauerland region are making their own contribution to help people in Ukraine. The wheel manufacturer, which is headquartered in Hochsauerland and operates two further facilities there, says a van filled with “care packages” left one of the sites on Monday and is driving the approximately 800 miles to the embattled country.
Goodyear has accounted for all its associates in Ukraine and “continues to monitor the situation and support associates and customers”. Writing in a statement sent in answer to Tyres & Accessories questions on the matter, a company spokesperson outlined Goodyear’s current position:
While announcing its latest financial results, Pirelli has shared details of the steps it has taken to mitigate the impact of the “Russia-Ukraine crisis”. Writing on 23 February, executives explained that Pirelli has conducted an initial analysis of the situation and steps required.