The ten-year old technology and co-operation between Toyo and Continental has ended, nine months ahead of schedule. This follows the formation of a joint venture between Continental and Yokohama to co-operate on technology and tyre production in Japan. Conti is also co-operating with Bridgestone in the development of run-flat tyres. The ending of the Conti/Toyo agreement was brought forward at the request of the German manufacturer, according to Toyo.
Bridgestone and Toyo have both announced plans to boost output in China, destined for the Chinese domestic market. Bridgestone will raise production in total by 40%, with its Tianjin factory producing 13,000 tyres per day, an increase of 30%. Meanwhile, Toyo is looking at methods of increasing production at Jiangsu by 60%.
Following Pirelli and Dunlop, also Toyo presents two 22 inch tyres: Proxes S/T is available in 305/45 and 325/40 with speed index V. As well as these extreme sizes Toyo has developed an even bigger size: 305/40 R 23 115V for typical pick-ups and sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
Toyo Tire & Rubber has become the eighth manufacturer to sign up to RubberNetwork.com, the world-wide electronic purchasing and procurement marketplace. RubberNetwork.com will be launched in North America next month and further launches are planned for July (Europe) and September (Asia). The eight members represent over half of the world’s tyre manufacturing capacity.
At the beginning of April the presentation of Toyo’s new winter tyre, Snowprox S950, took place in Rovaniemi, Finland. The new product was already introduced to the market at the end of last year. The S950 covers the 55- up to the 40-series and has been released in 15 dimensions (from 185/55 R 15 up to 215/40 R 16). For the coming winter season five additional sizes in the 17-inch-sector and with a V speed index are planned.
Toyo Tyre and Rubber Co has announced the establishment of a wholly owned US subsidiary. The $20million plant will begin manufacturing vibration resistant rubber auto parts by July 2002. The company’s main outlets will be Japanese motor manufacturers operating in North America.
The latest study by J.D. Power & Associates, measuring OE tyre satisfaction, puts Dunlop at the head of light truck OE tyres for the first time and Michelin tops for passenger vehicles, for the fourth year running. The study sought the views of more than 39,000 consumers in their first three years of vehicle ownership.
In the US, The J.D. Power & Associates 2001 Replacement Tire and Retailer Customer Satisfaction Study has rated Michelin as the brand offering most customer satisfaction among both passenger vehicles and light truck owners. This is the tenth year of the study and Michelin has taken top spot for the last seven years (light trucks) and the past three years for passenger vehicles. Light trucks include pick-ups, SUVs and full-size vans, passenger vehicles, cars and compact vans. Customers mentioned reliability, durability , performance and handling above price.
Goodyear, Toyo and Cooper were the losers in mid May, although Toyo shares – like those of Pirelli – had increased in the beginning of the month. In the automotive industry, BMW, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen were the heaviest losers. But the shares of DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Honda and Toyota lost as well. DaimlerChrysler, Fiat and Volvo even fell to an all year low.
In the first week of July Goodyear shares were down, while Bridgestone, Michelin and Toyo Tires were all winners. Only a short time before, at the end of June Goodyear and Michelin shares had gone down as well as car manufacturers Mazda, General Motors, Volkswagen and BMW lost drastically. Mid June almost the same situation: Goodyear going down (this time Bridgestone and Cooper too) leaving only Yokohama as a winner.
In the autumn “Snowprox S950” will be available in 55/50/45/40-series. According to Toyo, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in Germany this year, the new winter tyre has (compared with its predecessor “M+S 920”) improved its performance dramatically.
With the exception of Peugeot, Porsche and Beru, other share prices from automobile and tyre companies have fallen to an all-year low. Companies in this category include DaimlerChrysler, Volkswagen, Kiekert, Delco Remy, Delphi, Phoenix and Johnson Controls, as well as Continental, Cooper, Yokohama, Toyo and Goodyear.
In the fourth week of 2000 the share prices of the tyre manufacturers Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper and Goodyear have hit a 52 weeks’ low. In this week alone, Toyo Tyres fell 10%, Bridgestone 6% and Goodyear 5%. Just a week before Toyo had marked an increase of 12% while again Goodyear (-8%), Michelin (-8%) and Cooper (-8%) did not fare so well.
While Pirelli and Toyo shares – although only from time to time – displayed an upward trend in February, most of the other important tyre manufacturers (for example Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper, Goodyear and Michelin) were among the losers. Their shares have fallen to a new 52-week low, but shares in Yokohama rose 20 per cent at the end of February.
While Toyo shares dropped at the end of April/beginning of May, those of two other Japanese manufacturers, Bridgestone and Yokohama, gained. The share prices of Continental, Cooper, Goodyear and Michelin too.