Goodyear has released details of the group’s performance in various markets, for the year to date, to end February. Brief details are as follows:North American Tire: February industry shipments of consumer replacement tyres were 8 per cent up on last year. Goodyear shipments to dealers were flat, as some dealers pre-bought at the end of last year. Goodyear shipped 400,000 tyres as part of the Ford replacement programme. Industry shipments of commercial tyres were 14 per cent up on last year’s levels. Goodyear’s shipments were up, but not as high as the industry figure. Industry shipments of OE tyres were up 10 per cent for car tyres and down 17 per cent for commercial tyres. Goodyear’s unit shipments outperformed the industry.European Union: Consumer replacement tyres: industry shipments + 3 p.c. Goodyear shipments lower. Commercial replacement tyres: industry shipments – 6 p.c. Goodyear shipments reflect this figure. Consumer OE tyres: both industry and Goodyear shipments up. Commercial OE tyres: both industry and Goodyear shipments down.Eastern Europe: No segmentation available, but Goodyear replacement tyre sales were up, due mainly to market recoveries in South Africa and Turkey. Goodyear OE tyre sales were down slightly.Latin America: Goodyear replacement tyre sales down, mainly in Brazil and Argentina. OE sales were up. Currencies in Brazil and Mexico were revalued, but this was offset by devaluations in Argentina and Venezuela.Asia: Replacement tyre sales were up from last year, while OE unit sales were slightly down. Improved volumes in China and India helped improve operating margins over last year.
South African company Bridgestone Firestone Maxiprest is expanding and forming a new organisation. The company is to acquire West Cape Bandag and merging four outlets of tyre distributor Prima bande to form Primax Tyres. The outlets will distribute the Maxiprest range of retreads and related tyre services. Maxiprest has 100 retail outlets and 20 retread factories across South Africa.
In South Africa, the tyre industry has established a non-profit-making company, SA Tyre Recycling Process, to collect scrap tyres. This scrap will be made available to organisations for recycling and tyre-derived fuel. Etienne Human, the SA Tyre Manufacturers’ Conference director, said that the project would reduce the country’s growing scrap tyre problem and benefit the environment. The new company will deal only with new scrap arisings and the industry is looking towards international organisations to fund the removal of existing stockpiles of scrap tyres.
The group’s turnover fell from US$ 3.66 bn (1st quarter 2000) to US$ 3.41 bn for Q1 this year. Last year the group achieved earnings before taxes of US$ 80.3 million; this has turned into a loss of US$ 48.2 million. Earnings after tax fell to a loss of US$ 46.7 million. Despite these poor figures, analysts – especially from Deutsche Bank – have confidence in Goodyear, which is based on the hope that the effect of the disastrous Firestone recall will create a big advantage for first brands, and is also based on the assumption that price increases will stick. Last but not least, Goodyear has said that its on-going restructuring programme will lead to further significant cost reductions.
In South Africa, Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone have announced that the split between the two companies in the USA will not affect their 50-year relationship. Ford SA’s director of corporate affairs Craig von Essen said that the recall problem was a matter for the US companies and that, as far as the South African company was concerned, it was “business as usual”. Bridgestone supplies South African companies with ATX and R45 Wilderness tyres, manufactured locally. As well as Ford SA, it supplies tyres to BMW SA, Toyota SA and Nissan SA.
Jim O’Donnell (50) has been appointed Managing Director of BMW (GB), effective June 1. He succeeds Kevin Gaskell, who left the company in February. O’Donnell’s former roles include Sales & Marketing Director for BMW South Africa and, most recently, Sales Director of BMW (GB).
Velocity is the name of a newly created summer tyre. The program includes eleven sizes from 185/60 R14H to 205/45 ZR16. Continental and Dunlop South Africa are producing the tyre for the Tiger Wheels Group.
Czech tyre manufacturer Mitas is to purchase the motorcycle tyre manufacturing business from Trelleborg. The purchase (the price of which was not revealed) includes the license of the trade mark ‘Trelleborg’ and increases the Mitas motorcycle tyre portfolio by 15 designs in 57 sizes.
German company Degussa Hüls is building what it says will be one of the most modern industrial carbon black plants in the world at Paulinia, near Sao Paulo, Brazil. Production will begin in early 2002 and initial annual capacity will be 60,000 tonnes. Degussa Hüls says the new site will strengthen its role as a global partner of the rubber industry.
Karl-Friedrich Schmidt (59), previously Fulda manager with Europe-wide responsibility for Manufacturing Efficiency and Information Systems, took over as Director Global Manufacturing Efficiency of the Goodyear parent company with effect from 1st October. In this new function he reports directly to Goodyear’s world headquarters in Akron/Ohio, where he will also be based. “My principal aim is to raise the efficiency and profitability of all Goodyear production facilities worldwide”, said Schmidt. K.-F. Schmidt began his career with the group in 1983 when he joined Gummiwerke Fulda as Manager Industrial Engineering. In 1986 he moved to the personnel and welfare department with the rank of Deputy Managing Director. Four years later he became Manager Organization Effectiveness Europe for group divisions not directly product-related. He held his most recent position since 1993, during which time he was responsible for the integration of company acquisitions, among others Debica (Poland), Sava (Slovenia) and the repurchase of Goodyear South Africa.