The first tyre manufactured at Linglong’s Serbian factory – an “all steel radial truck and bus tyre” – rolled off the production line at 6:58am on 27 June 2022 China time (23:58 European time). Whatever the precise time, production on 27 June fulfils Linglong Tire chairman Wang Feng’s commitment that the factory would enter its initial manufacturing phase before the end of the first half of 2022.
Linglong Tires has confirmed earlier reports that trial tyre production at the company’s Serbia tyre manufacturing plant will commence by the end of the first half of 2022. In other words, the first tyres will roll off the Chinese tyre manufacturer’s Serbian production line by the end of June. Mass production is the next stop. However, since the first date refers to trial production, Tyres & Accessories understands that it will take till around August for the factory to achieve more deliverable output volumes.
With the start of production at its new factory in Serbia drawing nearer, Toyo Tire Corporation is changing its organisational structure in Europe. Toyo Tire Europe GmbH, which has served as the sales vehicle and sales headquarters within the region, will be reorganised into a holding company that includes the Serbian plant under its umbrella. From 1 June 2022, the tyre maker will thus be represented in Europe by Toyo Tire Holdings of Europe GmbH.
2021 has been a year of significant strategic developments for the fast-growing Linglong Tire business. On 10 June 2021, Linglong announced plans to invest in a huge tyre manufacturing facility in Tongchuan City, Shaanxi Province, China, which will output a wide range of products including 15.2 million high-performance radial tyres and 500,000 retreaded tyres. That three-phrase project will see construction commence in April 2022 and will be completed in March 2028.
Hubtrac’s global management team has announced that it will increase sales expectations for the fourth quarter of 2021 and complete “the latest market positioning and orientation of Hubtrac tyres by the end of the year.”
Toyo Tire Corporation shares that as of 1 July 2021, its Europe Project Development Department will cease being directly managed by the company’s Business Headquarters and will be transferred to the Production Headquarters, where it will be placed under the Headquarters Division.
Toyo Tire Corporation’s 2021 to 2025 ‘Mid-term ’21 plan’ indicates the brand’s intentions for its new Serbian plant, due to commence production in April 2022. The Japanese brand says the facility will not merely offer “local production for local consumption.” It says the plant will play a major role in further international expansion, becoming by far its most cost-effective.
Shandong Linglong Tyre Company’s share price reached a record high of 53.80 yuan on 10 February 2021 just before the Chinese New Year. The price drew back in the days afterwards, but the peak represents an all-time high for Linglong that is over 40 per cent higher than the company’s previous record of 38.18, which was set on 22 July 2016.
Cooper Tire wasn’t initially looking to sell when Goodyear chief executive Rich Kramer approached the company, Cooper’s president and CEO told journalists in a virtual press conference on 22 February 2021. Rather, Cooper’s management and board were convinced by Goodyear’s “compelling offer” and “strategic logic”. So, what exactly was it that convinced Cooper’s leadership team?
It is not easy for tyre businesses to take away something positive from the past year. In retrospect, Toyo Tires came to the conclusion: “2020 was anything but a glorious year for the tyre industry. A slump in new registrations and also double-digit declines in the replacement market business. There were no dealers and no manufacturers who did not have to struggle with losses in the past year.” Nevertheless, Toyo Tires Europe is starting the new year “confidently”, according to the Germany-based European headquarters of the Japanese tyre manufacturer.
On 19 January 2021, 26 Members of the European Parliament wrote to Oliver Várhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations about concerns relating to “growing Chinese influence in Serbia and the impending environmental damage resulting from several heavy industrial projects in Serbia by Chinese owned companies”. The group are particularly interested in scrutinising Serbia’s apparently “generous” subsidies and environmental compliance protocols.
Toyo Tire Corporation and its Toyo Tire Serbia LLC Belgrade manufacturing subsidiary broke ground at the site of Toyo’s new tyre plant in Indjija City, the Republic of Serbia, on 15 December 2020. Toyo Tire’s eighth tyre manufacturing base is due to start tyre manufacturing operations in April 2022, with a capacity of 5 million passenger car tyres per annum by the summer of 2023.
Linglong Tire brought its Hubtrac brand to market in October 2020. The release will see more than 150 stock-keeping units (SKUs) launched in European market in stages. The new brand will be produced at Linglong’s global production bases including its Thailand and Serbia plants. The European market-orientated range has been designed with the forthcoming 2021 tyre labelling update and enhanced retreadability in mind.
Shandong Linglong plans to increase the capital of its Linglong International Europe Serbian unit by US$174.1 million (146.6 million euros) for the construction of its tyre factory in Zrenjanin, northern Serbia. When finished the factory will require 1,200 employees and produce 13 million tyres per year.