Sumitomo’s “fossil fuel-free” tyre was one of the products on display at European brand, Falken Tyre’s Reifen 2014 stand, and while the tyre is still in development for the European market (as opposed to the Dunlop-branded version on sale in Japan), Falken has embraced a commitment to greener tyres similar to that of some higher-priced premium brands. The manufacturer’s Ecorun range, with patterns such as the Ziex ZE914 and Sincera SN832, distinguish its more environmentally-friendly products, with notably large improvements in their performance achieved in the last few years.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries is saying g’day to Australia through a joint venture with Sumitomo Corporation to establish a tyre sales corporation in the country. Sumitomo Rubber Australia Pty. Ltd. is expected to begin operating in March 2015 and strengthen Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ replacement market consumer tyre sales in Australia. The Sydney-based office is being set up with a capital investment of AU$20 million (£10.6 million), with Sumitomo Rubber Industries and Sumitomo Corporation respectively holding a 75 per cent and 25 per cent share in the operation. Representative Kenichi Furuhama will manage approximately 60 Sumitomo Rubber Australia employees.
Upon releasing its 2014 Top 100 Global Innovators list on 6 November, Thomson Reuters commented that its top 100 most innovative companies achieved nearly double the 6.85 per cent annual revenue growth rate of S&P 500 firms while increasing their research and development budgets by an average of 17 per cent year-on-year. One familiar tyre industry name on this list of worthies was Sumitomo Rubber Industries; the company views its inclusion on this year’s list as “further evidence of the great acclaim that we have earned for these and other innovative research and development efforts.” This is the second Top 100 appearance for Sumitomo Rubber Industries in the four years the list has been published – Thomson Reuters also chose to include the company in 2011.
Robust growth was once again order of the day at Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI). The company reports that in the first half of 2014 its turnover has increased to 379 trillion yen (£2.2 billion). This growth almost exclusively came through the company’s tyre business; SRI is the second largest Japanese tyre maker and its active worldwide with the Dunlop (outside of Europe and North America) and Falken brands.
This year’s annual tyre manufacturer rankings have brought with them a number of key changes at the top of the table. The growth of Far Eastern manufacturers and Chinese companies in particular has long been observed, but 2014 sees Singapore-based Giti Tire break into the top 10 and Taiwan-based Maxxis/Cheng Shin Rubber retains its ninth position. Hot on Giti’s heels, 11th place ZC Rubber (producer of the Westlake brand) gained one place from its position in last year’s table. Indeed this part of the table is extremely close and, such is the competition at this level, if ZC Rubber had achieved the same figures as last year (assuming no-one else had done any better and excluding currency effects) it could have been in 10th position.
Sumitomo tyre brand Falken’s European team will present its largest and most diverse range of road tyres ever, highlighting its recent innovations in product development technology. Highlights from the range – encompassing car, SUV and commercial vehicle tyres – will include the first public presentation of both the new Azenis FK453 Run-Flat tyre and energy efficient Sincera SN832 EcoRun tyre, launched at Ascari in spring 2014.
The official opening of Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ first agricultural tyre plant outside of Japan took place on 22 April. The newly-completed Sumitomo Rubber (Thailand) factory in Thailand’s Rayong Province was host to some 150 opening ceremony guests, including Rayong regional governor Vichit Chatpaisit. Representing the tyre maker was Sumitomo Rubber president Ikuji Ikeda and Sumitomo Rubber (Thailand) president Toru Nagahata.