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.
Pirelli may be synonymous with traditional ideas of high performance, but in 2019 the tyre manufacturer is increasingly adapting what this segment of the market can mean. Earlier in 2019, Pirelli reported that tyres made according to the company’s Green Performance strategy had risen from 20 per cent a decade ago to 29.8 per cent in 2018 – not only that, but Green Performance tyres accounted for 57.5 per cent of Pirelli’s High Value product sales. Now the manufacturer is embracing another “electrifying” direction in which to develop its high performance tyres in 2019.
Kumho has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with BMW, having for many years supplied tyres for the 1, 2 and 3 Series ranges. Recently, it also supplied original tyres for the latest X3 and MINI Countryman. Now the new 5 Series BMW has joined the supply list, with Kumho’s Ecsta PS91 Super Sports tyre in 245/45R18 XL 100Y size delivered to the German marque’s Dingolfing plant in Bavaria.
Yokohama’s Grand Design 2020 medium-term management plan identifies the expansion of the company’s presence in the market for premium-grade car tyres as a strategic priority. Having secured awards and original equipment fitments, the Japanese manufacturer states that its range of high performance tyres is winning “a growing number of drivers and vehicle manufacturers looking to extract the maximum performance from their vehicles.”
Markus Bögner, COO and president, Falken Tyre Europe, has told Tyres & Accessories that the brand reached a “turning point” in 2018, marked by “strong sales in an increasingly competitive market, with volumes exceeding expectations.” He said that the “Falken brand has become a genuine player in the premium tyre field, with OE sales continuing to grow over the past two to three years, particularly with premium manufacturers.
BMW has chosen the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S (PS4S) tyres as a 21-inch summer tyre fitment for its new high-performance X3 M and X4 M models. According to company, the new BMW X3 M and X4 M Competition models, which are fitted with 21-inch light alloy wheels, will be equipped with Michelin PS4S 255/40ZR21 102Y front and 265/40ZR21 105Y rear ultra-high-performance tyres.
Maxxis continues to target the high performance market with a tyre portfolio designed to offer dealers a blend of quality, value and performance. The manufacturer has been particularly aggressive in its marketing for its latest range-toping car products, and with endorsements from independent test body TÜV SÜD and German motoring magazine Auto Zeitung on two of its leading tyres, it is setting new standards for its range.
Continental’s ultra-high performance summer tyre, the SportContact 6 is currently available in a range of 101 articles, produced for rims with diameters of between 18 and 24 inches. The manufacturer states that the tyre is particularly suited to pure sports cars such as the Audi R8 or Porsche 911 as well as vehicles such as the BMW 5 Series or Mercedes AMG, due to its high-grip Black Chili compound, tread design, and Aralon 350 reinforced construction, which offers safe driving up to 220mph.
Following on from the two tyres launched last year, the N’Fera Sport and Winguard Sport 2 SUV, Nexen Tire has introduced further additions to its portfolio. The company presented the new pair, the Nexen N’Fera Primus and Nexen Roadian AT 4×4, at the Autopromotec show in Bologna this month.
Falken has won original equipment approval from Porsche, demonstrating the increasing premiumisation of the Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ brand. Falken is supplying the current generation of the Porsche Macan with the SUV version of the Falken Azenis FK510 in sizes 235/60R18 and 255/55R18. The tyres are rated W for speed (up to 270 km/h) and have load indexes of 103 and 105 respectively.
McLaren Automotive made its 20,000th hand-assembled car at its McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey.
The 20,000th car built was a right-hand drive 600LT Spider in Chicane Grey from the brand’s Sports Series line-up. Launched only last summer as the next chapter in the McLaren ‘Longtail’ story, all production slots for the Coupe variant have already been filled. It has been fitted with Pirelli Trofeo R tyres.
18-inch-plus tyres accounted for 53.9 per cent of total Hankook Tire car tyre sales in the first quarter of 2019, a 3.3 per cent increase versus the same period last year, showing Hankook’s strengthening position in premium segments. The manufacturer reported global sales of 1.64 trillion Korean won (1.28 billion euros), up around 2 per cent on Q1 2018, and operating profit of 140.1 billion won (109.6 million euros), which was 44.1 billion won (30.7 million euros less than in Q1 2018.
At the same time released its Eagle F1 SuperSport range, which is unashamedly pitched at the ultra, ultra-high performance segment (UUHP). The range is comprised of three tyres for the three main sub-sections of the UUHP segment – the Eagle F1 SuperSport, the SuperSport R and the SuperSport RS.
Goodyear originally launched the Eagle moniker back in the 1930s. And the Eagle F1 was introduced to the market in 1985. However, the latest generation – which begins with the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 and goes all the way up to the Eagle F1 Supersport RS – is designed to meet the most demanding consumer needs. Tyres & Accessories attended the Goodyear Eagle F1 Series event at the famous Ascari racetrack in Spain in order to find out more.
Growth within the all-season tyre segment is brisk. These tyres hold around ten per cent of the consumer replacement market in Europe, and sales are rising by almost 20 per cent year-on-year. Figures for the UK market are broadly similar. Runabouts and smaller SUVs have driven most activity within the segment to-date, yet Vredestein believes demand exists and is increasing further up the automotive food chain. To cater for this anticipated demand, it has introduced an all-season tyre specifically developed for performance vehicles.