Anyone in the tyre business who has spent holiday time in the South of Spain will probably have noticed the branding of Confort Auto – the red, yellow and black logo emblazoned across the frontage of the white and black tyre depots along with the eagle logo and the Grupo Soledad inscription. They may not have realised that, with 57 workshops, Confort Auto is the largest independent fast fit operator in Spain. They may not have made the connection with the retread industry either, for the parent company of the Confort Auto brand is Grupo Soledad, which is also the owner and manufacturer of the Insa Turbo retread brand of truck and car tyres. Given the poor reputation of retread tyres in the UK market it may be difficult for some to reconcile a retread operation with the modern and professional approach of Confort Auto. However, the history of the company runs deeper still.The retreading division is based at Aspe outside Alicante, and the operation has grown on this site gradually expanding to take in more and more of the available space here. There is a great deal of development in the area and further expansion is planned in the near future, with a new warehouse at an industrial site a few kilometres away. This will create space at the Aspe plant for further developments.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is investing 250 million dollars upgrading its Lawton, Oklahoma plant. The project will be split into two phases spending 125 million dollars on each phase. The initial project should be completed in early 2003 and the second phase should begin in mid-2003. The project is being driven by the demand for low profile, large diameter tyres and run-flat tyres. The company will be upgrading tyre building equipment and installing new tyre finishing tooling to produce tyres over 18 inches in diameter. There will also be a new 475,000 square foot warehouse facility constructed.
Bridgestone/Firestone has acquired total ownership of stores at Zeebrugge (Belgium). The 59,000 square metres have an option to be extended to 79,000 square metres and will operate as the European hub for the importation of 1.8 million truck and bus tyres per year, which are then redistributed to destination warehouses throughout Europe. Future developments may result in the same logistical flow being applied to passenger car, light truck and off road tyres.
A double management buy-out of former Conti-owned tyre retailer National Tyre Service and wholesaler Viking International was announced today. The buy-outs, which were for an undisclosed sum, were led by Chairman and Chief Executive Alan Revie. The two companies will continue to trade as separate businesses, under the umbrella of a new holding company, Axle Group Holdings Limited. In addition to National and Viking, the group includes a property company.
There are reports in Romania that Continental is going to invest one million Euro in establishing a logistics centre and warehouse in the country. This month should also see the millionth tyre produced at Continental’s Romanian factory roll off the production line.
Following a review of its UK activities, Magneti Marelli has announced that its UK aftermarket operation will close on December 31st. This comes as a result of weak demand within the UK replacement parts market. Business managers will work with customers up until then to assist in areas such as alternative product sourcing. Selected products, such as the aftermarket lighting programme, will continue for key accounts, supplied through the central warehouse in Milan. Magneti Marelli’s other aftermarket businesses in Europe are unaffected.
Michelin is to invest 12m Euro in a new tyre warehouse at its Alava plant in Spain. The 30,000 square metre warehouse will employ 40 staff and will be for the exclusive distribution of the production from the Alava factory. The warehouse should be operational in 2002.
At a Goodyear warehouse in North Brunswick (N. J.) members of the all-white management discriminated against black employees, The Akron Beacon Journal reports, quoting court documents and statements of two Goodyear managers. The eleven workers have been in court for two years in order to get more than 100 m US-$ compensation for discrimination. Goodyear has denied the claim.
One of the UK’s leading tyre wholesalers, R. H. Claydon Ltd, suffered minimal fire damage at the end of last week at their Stockport, Cheshire warehouse. The fire started in an adjoining building belonging to another company and spread to the warehouse, but no stock was damaged and the sales division continues to operate normally.