Urban planners anticipate a decline in individual car ownership and commensurate increase in use of infrastructure-type vehicles to move people and goods in years to come, and Yokohama Rubber is now planning for this in its newly-announced medium-term management plan, Yokohama Transformation 2023. The company intends this successor to the 2018-launched Grand Design 2020 (GD2020) three-year plan to “serve as the platform” for its growth over the next three years.
Three Japanese firms are jointly conducting pilot testing that involves joining data gained from an internet-capable tyre with a road surface sensing system to map data. The trio – tyre maker The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd.; map and navigation technology specialist Zenrin Co., Ltd.; and technology company Alps Alpine Co., Ltd. – have now also begun studying ways to monetise this technology.
The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. has expressed pride in its inclusion in two stock indices that focus on companies with strong Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices – the FTSE4Good Index Series and the FTSE Blossom Japan Index. This is the 16th consecutive year that Yokohama Rubber has been included in the global FTSE4Good Index Series, and the company considers its continued selection further confirmation that its ESG activities and disclosure practices “meet the highest global standards.” It is also the fourth year in a row that Yokohama Rubber has appeared on the FTSE Blossom Japan Index.
Yokohama Rubber reports it has developed a system that utilises artificial intelligence to predict the physical properties of rubber compounds, and from this breakthrough that it achieved last December has produced a proprietary system that is already being used to design rubber compounds for Yokohama tyres. The manufacturer expects that the system’s ability to conduct a large number of virtual experiments will accelerate compound development, reduce development costs and lead to the development of better-performing products. In addition, the system will simplify the compound-creation process for less-experienced engineers.
Yokohama Mold Co., Ltd. (YMC), the tyre mould production subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber, is expanding production capacity at its Yokohama Mold (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (YMTC) facility in order to strengthen the company’s supply chain in the ASEAN region. Construction of new facilities at the Thailand site began in January and are scheduled to be completed at the end of this year.
Vietnamese officials have interpreted the US Department of Commerce (DOC) anti-dumping investigation preliminary conclusions as “very positive” for Vietnam-produced car tyres. There was even hope that cooperative Vietnam-based tyre manufacturers Local newspapers read this mean Vietnamese tyre factories had been “cleared” by the investigation.
Yokohama Rubber’s off-highway tyre business, Yokohama Off-Highway Tires (YOHT), has unveiled a new corporate identity and corporate logo. The tyre maker says this new identity draws on the company’s century-old legacy while underlining YOHT’s own distinct space in the off-highway segment. As a result, the ATG trademark was phased out around the world as of 1 January 2021.
A new all-Porsche racing series commences in the USA and Canada next year, and Yokohama will serve as control tyre. The Porsche Sprint Challenge North America is a three-class series contested by the current and previous generations of Porsche 991 GT3 as well as the 718 Cayman Clubsport. All cars will race on Yokohama Advan racing tyres, with the Advan A005 slick the rubber of choice on dry tracks and the Advan A006 serving as wet weather tyre.
Aeolus Tyre Co Ltd and its controlling shareholder, China National Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd (CNRC, which is itself owned by Chinese petrochemical giant ChemChina) executed a “share entrustment agreement” on 30 November 2020. According to the agreement, CNRC will “entrust” its 52 per cent shareholding in Prometeon Tyre Group Srl to Aeolus for three years. But the three-year term will be automatically renewed upon expiry.
Bridgestone, Pirelli and Yokohama have achieved places in the 2020 Climate A list prepared by the CDP (former Carbon Disclosure Project), the international non-profit organization which gathers, distributes and promotes information on environmental issues. They are the only tyre manufacturers in the global top 20 to achieve this level.
Yokohama has announced that it will launch a new all-season tyre for European and Russian vans, the BluEarth-Van All Season RY61, in spring 2021. The tyre will be available in 23 sizes, from 225/55R17C 104/102H to 195/70R15C 104/102T. The manufacturer joins the trend of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers introducing new products in the segment, an intersection of two growth markets in Europe.
Shares in Japanese firms hit a 30-year high after Joe Biden was named as the president-elect of the US in a phenomenon being called the “Biden bounce”. Tokyo’s Nikkei index rose 2.6 per cent when the market opened on 9 November. It closed up 2.1 per cent at a level not seen since 1991.
Yokohama’s Prometeon bid: Delayed by Covid, but nearing completion
Today Yokohama announced that it is consolidating its OTR tyre businesses into Yokohama Off-Highway Tires, which could be read as a prelude to the announcement Yokohama’s bid for the Prometeon tyre business. Roughly a year after the story broke, Yokohama’s bid for Prometeon isn’t the best kept secret in the tyre industry. Tyres & Accessories first heard talk of Yokohama’s bid for the ex-Pirelli industrial and commercial vehicle tyre business back in July 2019. The news was reported world-wide after we broke the story in September 2019, followed days later by third-party confirmation from the Chinese side of the deal. At that time, the deal was set to go public by the end of 2019. A few months later at the start of 2020, the timeframe switched to an end-of-first-quarter 2020 deadline. Then the coronavirus pandemic happened. And in the months that have followed things have gone quiet. So, where is Yokohama’s bid for Prometeon up to? The latest news is that deal is still on-track, but that there have been a few changes along the way. Here, Tyres & Accessories brings an update on the status of the acquisition and offers a different view on the deal by looking at it from a South American perspective.