Zhongce Rubber Group (ZC Rubber) is planning to use 5G technology to create a Smart Factory platform for the tyre industry. China’s largest tyre manufacturer says the replicable 5G Smart Factory platform will “promote data network platform innovation and data-driven production process reengineering.” It also says the initiative will enhance “core competitiveness and corporate value through network collaboration, flexible production, and service extension.” The project is currently “in progress and has not yet been officially implemented,” but ZC Rubber plans to implement the concept in its pilot “Future Factory” which is currently under construction. It ultimately wants to extend the technological approach by applying it to more of its factories. ZC Rubber’s headline forecasts indicating the Smart Factory’s predicted benefits include a 15 per cent increase in production efficiency and a need for 70 per cent fewer staff versus existing tyre factory models.
Changan, one of China’s top-selling domestic automotive brands, has unveiled its first all-electric model, the C385. Zhongce Rubber Group (ZC Rubber) is supplying original equipment tyres to the new electric Changan, which will wear the SU318a all-season tyre in size 245/45 R19.
Westlake Tyre has launched a new global website. Westlaketyre.com features “a more intuitive and responsive user interface, is optimized for various digital devices such as PC, smartphones, and tablets”, according to the company. Regionalised multilingual versions of the website will be available “for each region” in the coming months.
Chinese car maker BYD debuted its new EA1 electric hatchback at the 2021 Shanghai Motor Show, and ZC Rubber is proud to share that the car was unveiled with Chaoyang tyres as original equipment. The EA1 wears Chaoyang RP76 tyres in size 195/60 R16.
ZC Rubber hosted its first Global Online Dealer Conference on 19 March. The theme of this event was ‘Innovate into The Great Future’, and conference speakers outlined the company’s strategic vision and plans for continued growth in 2021 and also introduced its latest products, technologies, and services.
Lockdown has spurred many companies on to greater creativity in how they market and sell their products, and ZC Rubber is no exception. The tyre maker has launched virtual showrooms for its Westlake, Goodride and Arisun brands, giving visitors a 360-degree experience and access to more than 50 tyre products.
Good news stories have been thin on the ground of late, but when ZC Rubber describes 2020 as a “remarkable year,” it means it in the very best sense of the word. The tyre maker elaborated on why the previous 12 months were so positive at its China Distributors Conference, which took place on 30 December. As well looking back on its achievements, ZC Rubber presented its vision for further digital innovation and gave a sneak preview of products arriving in 2021.
In the final week of 2020, ZC Rubber launched its new ‘Flagship Series’ line, which as the name suggests will serve as a premium product within its four tyre brands, Chaoyang (Arisun), Westlake, Goodride and Trazano. Flagship Series arrives first in the Chinese domestic market ahead of its global rollout in the coming year.
In December, ZC Rubber will begin servicing the eastern states of the USA from a new distribution centre. ZC Rubber America has set up a 30,000 square foot (2,800 square metre) warehouse in Statesville, North Carolina, which will serve as the distribution hub for dealers and customers of its Arison tyre brand. The facility can hold approximately 10,000 truck tyres.
With its newly-developed global customer service system, ZC Rubber says it offers tyre dealers an online platform that serves as a “one-stop solution for tyre information, marketing support and after-sales service.” The system covers all ZC Rubber brands, including Westlake, Goodride, Chaoyang, Trazano, Arisun and Yartu.
DSV Road Holding NV will continue to distribute Westlake commercial tyres in the Nordic region after the company extended its strategic partnership with a new five-year contract. The partnership began in 2016. DSV offers a wide range of Westlake Tyres covering truck, bus and trailer tyres and services in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
ZC Rubber is launching its second generation of Westlake WSA2LT, WAS2, WDA2LT, WDA2, WSM2 and WDM2 all-steel truck and light truck tyres into the European market effective 1 July 2020. According to the company, the range is designed for “European fleets who seek both tyre performance and cost saving”.
ZC Rubber will add 68 new sizes to its Z-series winter tyre lines. The Chinese manufacturer, based in Hangzhou, says the new sizes aim to meet the diverse demands of European customers. They are designed for the wet and snowy road conditions typical of the continent’s winters. The new sizes will be available across its All Elite Season Z-401, Zupersnow Z-507, and Icemaster Spike Z-506 products. The tyres will be available for the 2020/21 winter season. ZC Rubber launched the Z-401 all-season tyre, the Z-507 winter tyre, and the studded winter tyre Z-506 in Europe last year. It tells Tyres & Accessories that the three Z-series lines “have gained great popularity with sales exceeding expectations.”
The last few months have been a challenging time for the tyre industry, but some of the first companies affected by the COVID-19 crisis are now reporting a return to normality. Zhongce Rubber Group (ZC Rubber) says its production at its plant in Hangzhou, China is now “in full swing” and its more than 9,200 employees back at work.