Amidst widespread economic and political unrest in South Africa, local tyre manufacturers have experienced significant disruption and even looting. Specifically, the Dunlop South Africa (formally Sumitomo Rubber South Africa Pty Ltd – SRSA) Durban Westville warehouse was “invaded” by trespassers and looters resulting in the loss of 90 million rand (£4.533 million; 5.255 million euros; US$6.190 million) of tyre stock. Such is the scale of the problem, the local tyre industry has embarked on a “say no to looted goods” campaign.
The Ford Ranger Raptor is now exclusively fitted with General Grabber AT3 tyres as standard. The high-performance off-road pickup from Ford features a specially developed motorsport-friendly chassis. And its particular performance qualities come to the fore at high speeds away from paved roads.
Like all vehicle manufacturers, Ford defines a wide range of requirements, which Continental (the manufacturer of the General Tire brand) reports the Grabber AT3 “more than met during intensive testing”.
Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (Pty) Ltd (SRSA), manufacturer of the Dunlop, Sumitomo and Falken tyre brands for the African continent, has announced the appointment of Lubin Ozoux as its new CEO and Executive Director of SRSA effective 1 January 2021. Ozoux will take over the role from outgoing CEO, Riaz Haffejee who has led the company for the past eight years. Haffejee will remain with the company until the 31 January 2021 to “ensure a smooth transition”.
Piotr Czyzyk has been appointed managing director for Goodyear South Africa. Czyzyk has served Goodyear in a number of roles and markets for the past 17 years, most recently as PBU commercial director in Europe. There Czyzyk was responsible for overseeing the Central Europe operation, garnering keen insights into the global market, consumer behavior, as well as the shifting dynamics of demand and supply.
Following consultations with workers and unions, Bridgestone South Africa (BSAF) has finalised the process to close down its tyre manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. The plant’s last day of operation will be 15 November. Bridgestone announced its intention to close the facility in August.
Whether it’s for journey planning or for looking at own houses online, we’ve all used Google Street View. Now, Sumitomo Rubber South Africa is helping fill the gaps in Street View’s maps and having and off-road adventure at the same time.
Produced at its Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa truck and bus radial tyre manufacturing plant, Sumitomo Dunlop has launched a new drive-axle truck tyre. Locally researched, produced and tested, the SP835A is described as a “game changer”.
Bridgestone Southern Africa (BSAF) has announced that it will close its bias tyre manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth, a decision affecting 252 employees. The move is in line with the company’s plans to focus on premium profitable growth segments. The Port Elizabeth plant is geared towards the production of older bias tyres, which are globally in decline and being phased out in South Africa, due to their unprofitability. BSAF is also feeling the effects of a shrinking economy and an influx of cheap imports, leading to its operational restructuring plan. It added that the conversion of the plant to produce radial tyres would require a multi-billion-rand investment, which it deemed unfeasible in the current economy.
Australian tyre recycler Green Distillation Technologies, which recycles tyres according to a kind of pyrolysis process, is considering expanding into the UK and other international markets.
Expansion began with an agreement with a tyre collection business who are so confident in the Australian technology that they have increased their commitment to GDT from 10 tyre recycling facilities across the US to 15 with the construction of three key plants to commence as soon as the regulatory agreements and government approvals are obtained.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries, the manufacturer of the global Falken tyre brand has temporarily shut down its factory in South Africa on government orders. All of its other tyre manufacturing facilities are currently operational, though staff at the Falken Tyre Europe headquarters in Germany are working remotely where possible, or following social distancing guidelines.
Vipal Rubber has marked its 15-year partnership with exclusive South African distributor of repair products, Tyre & Retread Supplies (TRS), with a commemorative plaque. Dijan Rigo, commercial coordinator of Vipal Overseas delivered the plaque to Morne Goosen, TRS management at the distributer’s headquarters in Johannesburg.
Bridgestone is considering increasing production capacity at its tyre factories in South Africa in order to gain market share in the country’s minibus taxi segment. It appears to be looking at investing around ZAR 300 million (£16.1 million) in its plants, a capex additional to the ZAR 400 million investment it is currently completing at the company’s main production site in Brits.
BestDrive, the franchise tyre retail fitment division of Continental Tyre South Africa (CTSA), is one of the fastest-growing networks in Southern Africa. The tyre retailer currently has 149 BestDrive dealers across Southern Africa, located in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mauritius.
We were told that 29 March was the Brexit deadline. As we go to press in the week after that deadline passed, it is clear that we don’t know either when or how we are going to Brexit. As we discussed last month, the consensus amongst analysts and the automotive industry is that there will be a massive negative impact on vehicle manufacturing (and therefore automotive suppliers) in the UK. But what else do we have to look forward to?