The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has again urged both sides to re-engage the Brexit negotiation process with vigour in order to achieve a satisfactory deal. Bringing its latest calculations to the table, the industry association stresses that ‘no deal’ is a high stake gamble not only for the automotive sector but also for hopes of a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
Car industry analysts have outlined the compound challenge facing the UK’s car sector following the publication of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ half-year figures. The stats show that the first half of 2020 yielded the lowest level of UK car manufacturing since the 1950s. Edwin Kemp, head of automotive strategy at KPMG, commented that the SMMT’s June 2020 new car manufacturing analysis is a harbinger for businesses’ likely descent into insolvency throughout the automotive supply chain. Peter Barnes, head of automotive at global legal business, DWF, added that the challenges facing the UK automotive industry add up to a perfect storm for the sector.
UK car manufacturing output declined -48.2 per cent in June, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders figures reveal. Only 56,594 units were produced in the month. The SMMT revealed that the 381,357 cars produced in the first half of 2020 represent the weakest six months of UK manufacturing since 1954. This is -42.8 per cent down on 2019’s first half, with more than 285,000 units fewer produced. 11,349 jobs have been lost across manufacturing and retail during the pandemic. The SMMT warns that the fear of Brexit tariffs could endanger more jobs without dedicated restart support. The society called for greater urgency in talks to secure an ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union. Its latest survey data shows nine in 10 firms are missing clarity of information to allow them to prepare for the end of the transition to the new ongoing relationship between the UK and EU.
The UK Department for International Trade has announced a new UK Global Tariff (UKGT). Announced on 19 May 2020, this replaces the EU’s Common External Tariff on 1 January 2021 at the end of the Brexit Transition Period. As it pertains to the tyre business, while there are various categories, the announcement basically means the new UKGT sees tyre duty reduced from 4.5% to 4.0%. Camel back rubber for use in retreading stays at 0%, while duties cushion industrial tyres are reduced to 2.0% from 2.5%.
Sailun Group Co., Ltd. has issued a new timetable for the completion of its project to add capacity for larger rim passenger car and light commercial vehicle tyres at its Dongying factory in China. The self-funded investment to add 15 million units of capacity will now be implemented by December 2020 rather than this year, as originally planned. According to Sailun Group, the level of investment in the project and proposed usage of the funds remains the same.
In 2016 Triangle Tyre completed its initial public offering (IPO) on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Back then Triangle’s top management promised that the company would invest in expanding its position in key markets – including Europe. Sure enough, in 2017 a new European leadership team was appointment and shortly afterwards a new European headquarters was opened in Milan. But around the same time, European anti-Chinese truck tyre import duties were also introduced. For many companies this meant the end of Chinese truck tyre business in tariff areas. So how has Triangle faired in this adverse business climate? Nearly two years after their appointment, Tyres & Accessories caught up with Triangle executives Corrado Moglia, general manager – Europe; Angelo Giannangeli, European marketing director; and Mirco Spiniella, business development director Europe in order to answer that question.
The size of the UK truck tyre market by sell-out unit volume fell 9.8 per cent in 2018 set against the backdrop of European import tariffs, according to GfK data presented at Autopromotec 2019. But what do the tell us about the effectiveness of the tariffs?
At the time of going to press, the President of the United States of America is mid-way through a state visit to the UK. Before he even landed on British soil, President Donald Trump stirred up controversy by tweeting his disparaging thoughts about London Mayor Sadiq Kahn. Whatever view one might hold about the propriety of Trump’s visit, we all know that 31-gun salutes and tea with the queen are about more than niceties. Sure enough less than 24 hours into the state visit, presidential talk turned to trade, with Trump backing out-going Prime Minister Theresa May to complete Brexit negotiations and promising a “phenomenal” trade deal between the US and UK. But all this is set against the backdrop of all-out trade war between the US and China at the same time that Europe is involved in somewhat more Cold War-esque trade skirmishes with China as well. The questions are: do such measures work? And what do they mean for the tyre business?
Following the US’s implementation of 25 per cent import tariffs on Chinese aluminium wheels on 1 May, China exported 70,400 metric tonnes of aluminium alloy wheels in April, down 9.6 per cent compared with the previous month and down 11.6 per cent compared with the year before. However, while down Chinese wheel exports in April were above their recent low point. In February exports dipped to the lowest in five years at 53,700 tonnes.
The USA has determined the rate of anti-dumping and countervailing duties it will charge on steel commercial vehicle wheels imported from China, and the levels set are high. This month, the US Department of Commerce announced final anti-dumping duties of 231.7 per cent and countervailing duties of 457.1 per cent.
In the USA, the recent United States Trade Representative (USTR) Section 301 investigation exploring potential tariffs on a range of Chinese imports has reported back. After tariffs of 10 per cent were put into place in September, the planned increase to 25 per cent in January was delayed while trade talks continued.
Vellco Tyre Control will seek to capitalise on increased optimism in the European tyre retreading market by expanding its casing supply business into new territories. Retreaders of commercial vehicle tyres were given a boost last year when the European Union introduced tariffs on certain new Chinese products in the segment, which have long caused headaches among retreaders due to their low price. The independently owned casing dealer and used tyre specialist from Weaverthorpe, North Yorkshire is engaged in the procurement, grading and sale of tyre casings of all types, including car, van, truck, agricultural, industrial, and earthmover. In addition to targeting selected European clients, Vellco said it would simultaneously consolidate and strengthen its position in key global markets such as South America and Africa.