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March 2013

The magazine for the tyre and wheel industries

Tyres & Accessories March 2013

Race inspired

Grip and Braking on wet roads.

The new with an A rating for wet grip.* Weather is unpredictable, which is why we test new technologies under extreme conditions – to develop tyres that you can rely on. * The majority of sizes achieve grade A rating for wet grip under Regulation (EC) N° 1222/2009, but grading may vary for certain sizes. For more information please visit

A-rated wet grip* is the highest grade a tyre can achieve in wet grip under the EU label Regulation

New compound for enhanced grip on wet roads

Optimised shape for better rolling resistance

Short braking blocks for reduced braking distance


Soft touch enforcement? BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS it will be nearly six months since have all gone unanswered, suggesting there really isn’t anytyre labelling became mandatory in the UK and across Europe. However, while the rules associated with this regulation have been anticipated for years, and indeed a rolling introduction began in May 2012, nearly a year after we all began talking about who got what label there is still something of a gap when it comes to enforcement. We have talked through the various options available to the British government in the pages of Tyres & Accessories before (see our 2012 Tyre Labelling special supplement for more on this) so there’s no-need to retrace those steps here. However the central point that rules are only as strong as their enforcement still stands. And the need is getting more urgent. As long as we don’t have an enforcement body in place there is a disincentive for dealers and other parts of the tyre trade to invest what’s necessary in systems and training to ensure labels are being talked about during the sales process. In its place all we have is de facto Andrex-soft enforcement. The “good” news is that we are not alone. Unlike with smarking, in the months since we published our labelling supplement last summer it has become clear that the lack of enforcement body is not something that is limited to the UK government. In Germany the received wisdom is that labelling legislation is supposed to be policed by the 16 states that make up the country, however this is far from clear and there is danger that everyone is expecting the other to take responsibility for this. In France the situation is similarly unclear. In fact things are comparably opaque across Europe. But the fact that we in Britain are no worse than anyone else is no excuse for our government continuing to drag its feet. I have lost count of the number of times I have asked the people that connect our industry with the Department for Transport (DfT) for confirmation of what is going on. It’s not their fault. It is just that there is little evidence of any progress. In fact my calls and emails to the DfT during the last month


thing more to say. And yet conversely it seems that we hear that they are getting closer to appointing someone 12 times a year, so it would be atypical if DfT suddenly made a concrete announcement this time. The problem is that with every month that passes the situation is arguably getting worse. That is not to say that our respective national authorities are going backwards and getting further away from appointing agencies to oversee the roll-out of labelling across the continent, but rather there is less and less impetus for dealers to make an effort to be label ready. Of course there are many professional businesses that are already kitted out for this. The labelling POS visible during a recent visit to a medium-to-large chain demonstrates this point. However, this is not the case across the board as our recent “Question of the Month” illustrates. With only around 6 per cent of UK sales calls mentioning tyre labelling at the end of 2012, we asked readers if they are using labelling as a sales tool in their dealerships. First past the post was the “it needs to get established” option with 44 per cent voting this way. Another 37 per cent said “customers aren’t interested”, while a surprising 11 per cent said they don’t trust the grades and another 8 per cent complained that the current system doesn’t help find the right product, especially when it comes to winter tyres. Of course we know that that our monthly polls are not exactly scientific, but these responses are indicative of the relative apathy around this issue. With the majority waiting for the labelling “to get established” and with governments failing to appoint enforcement bodies and thus “establish” the system, who knows how long it will be before we see the really impact of labelling.



March 2013


30 Features



Soft touch enforcement?




Bridgestone profits up 67% Hankook global sales a record Freight costs stabilising




New products aplenty at SIMA Incomparable

• UK TYRE MARKET Tesco & Blackcircles The cost of the pothole plaque Bandvulc upgrades fleet software

14 16 18

60 64





Bridgestone to close Italian pcr plant Tire Tech awards


Time to diversifiy? Hard times for exhaust makers New Varta brand identity Bosal goes into administration

24 27 28 29

• 4X4 TYRES GfK: V-Z speed sizes grow General Tire’s quiet road tyre Cooper boosts KRT 4x4 range GT Radial improving 4x4 performance

30 32 36 40

74 76



88 Web Directory – 91 Classifieds – 92 Advertisers’ Index – 93 Preview – 93 Impressum




The most memorable wet performance since “Singing in the Rain”.

The new EfficientGrip Performance with A-rated wet grip* and a braking distance that’s two metres shorter on wet roads.**



M A D E T O F E E L G O O D. A-rated wet grip – the highest grade a tyre can achieve in wet grip in line with EU labelling regulations.*

The innovative 3-dimensional block design within the tyre tread increases the contact of the tyre with the road when braking.

Two compounds give the optimum balance of wet grip and rolling resistance over the lifetime of the tyre.


* The majority of sizes achieve a grade A rating for wet grip under Regulation (EC) No 1222/2009, but grading may vary for certain sizes. For more information please visit ** Compared to the average braking distance of four leading competitors (braking on high μ very wet surface at 80–20 km/h). Tested by TÜV SÜD Automotive in September 2012 by order of Goodyear Dunlop. Tyre size: 205/55 R16 91V; test car: VW Golf; test locations: Mireval (FR), Papenburg (D) and Garching (D); report no. 76249743

042076_Goodyear_EfficientGrip_PRINT_A4_V1.indd 1

18/01/2013 10:47


Further Alliance Tire Group sale reports The latest round of speculation associated with the sale of shares in Alliance Tire Group puts Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), Blackstone, TPG Capital and Advent International at the front of the pack. According to a Times of India report published on 20 February the firms are “set to fire bids valued at more than US$300 million to acquire majority shares in Alliance Tire Group.” Standard Chartered Private Equity is also said to be bidding. The latest reports suggest Alliance extended the deadline for the filing of bids to the end of February from 18 February. Singapore investor GIC and Baring Asia are also said to have looked at the transaction. GIC could look at partnering with a global peer in jointly acquiring the company. GIC partnered with Bain Capital for $1 billion investment in BPO firm Genpact last year, which remains the largest private equity deal involving an Indian company. Warburg Pincus currently owns roughly 70 per cent of Alliance Tire Group, which it bought for $150 million six years ago. The Ashok Mahansaria family owns the remainder. The Mahansaria family is expected to retain ownership of its stake. cja

Falken brings sports sponsorship to Murrayfield Falken Tyres will advertise using electronic touchline signage at the RBS Six Nations this year. The brand has agreed a deal to make its image visible at the Scotland v Italy match at Murrayfield stadium on Saturday, 9 February. The tyre manufacturer’s decision to bring its branding and sponsorship to Murrayfield in a drive to explore new marketing channels and develop brand awareness followed a trial at the EMC2 rugby test match between Scotland and South Africa back in November. With the Scotland-Italy clash due for broadcast on BBC1, Falken will be using its sponsorship to expand the company’s media presence, reaching a wider audience. Director of Falken UK, Matt Smith, said: “Falken focuses on delivering high performance from its tyres, so the sponsorship of an international rugby match where top-class teams will be competing at their best, embodies Falken’s brand values, making it an obvious sponsorship choice.” akb


Bandenmarkt Tyres & Wheels ISO 9001 certified Dutch tyre company Bandenmarkt Tyres & Wheels held a ceremony with representatives of official certification agency DNV in January to confirm the award of Certificate ISO 9001:2008. The award caps a Bandenmarkt will move to a new building year of working on the docu- in 2013 mentation system for quality, according to the management team, which made the decision to formalise all working processes in a quality system in January 2012. “The certification process was a kind of education for all of us. Also, the certificate is a confirmation that our company is working in accordance with international standards. But it is also an obligation for all Bandenmarkt employees, to continue with the maintenance and continuous improvement of this system,” concluded head of quality management, Johan Koster. Managing director of Bandenmarkt, Leendert van ‘t Hof said: “Considering that this company exports over 90 per cent of its products, the ISO certification is very important because of the fact that foreign manufacturers in the agricultural and construction business with whom Bandenmarkt operates, besides quality of products, seek certification of quality of the daily working procedures and products as well.” During 2013 Bandenmarkt will start to build new premises, including offices, a wheel fitting assembly line and a warehouse. Bandenmarkt will stay in Tholen, but will move to the new industrial zone, which offers more space and capacity for all departments. The new 11,000sqm building is planned to be ready in the summer. akb

Nexen holiday promotion winners named Nexen and Stapleton’s have released details of the two companies’ holiday promotion after what they have described as “an overwhelming response that exceeded all expectations…” The seven lucky winners and their travel companions are now said to be looking forward to “some serious globetrotting, in considerable style”. The two main prize winners, John Barrow from Aberdeenshire and David Lulham from Sussex, are jetting off to the tropical paradise of St Lucia to enjoy the island’s


uniquely appealing blend of British and French culture and cuisine. Meanwhile another five winners will soon be soaking up the cultural sights and other delights of Barcelona, Paris, Prague or Venice. “The promotion has more than achieved its aim of driving customers to buy Nexen – but equally importantly it’s also been driving home to tyre retailers the very real bottom line benefits to be had as a Nexen Key Dealer”, commente Nigel O’Hara, Stapleton’s Head of General Wholesale. cja


DR-P.DE | 26

NÜRBURGRING OR MOTORWAY. F a l ken h i g h performan c e t y res

Official sponsor 24h-Race Nürburgring

Better grip and greater driving pleasure - the AZENIS FK453 delivers outstanding traction in wet and dry conditions without compromising

on comfort. Falken‘s FK453 tyre enhances the road qualities of sporty cars for an even more direct and authentic driving experience.

From race track to road.


Kiene release Wheel Grabber Kiene has developed a new adapter for its K-1350 Wheel Grabber. According to the company, the new “Extender” allows a technician to safely remove seized wheels from vehicles on a floor lift. The Kiene Wheel Grabber is designed for removing seized wheels from heavy duty tractors, trailers and buses, as well as Ford super-duty applications. With the “Extender” in place, the vehicle does not have to be taken off the lift to remove a seized wheel. In addition to the new extension, Kiene report that it is developing another Wheel Grabber adapter to remove seized brake drums. This adapter is scheduled for release the first quarter of 2013. cja

Borg & Beck expands brake range Borg & Beck’s brake programme has grown to include a range of hydraulics supplementing its existing pads, shoes, discs and drums.The programme includes 104 brake master cylinder, 380 wheel cylinder and 1,224 brake hose references. Notable references within the range include wheel cylinders for the Peugeot 208, Citroën C3 and the Ford Fiesta, with many modern applications also available throughout the master cylinder range. First Line, the owners of the Borg & Beck brand, are known for their cataloguing, so naturally full application reference details, along with product diagrams and images are available via the Borg & Beck Webcat as well as through the other major electronic cataloguing system providers. A printed catalogue will also be available. To ensure that the products are also able to compete equally against other quality braking suppliers, the company has aligned its pricing to provide factors with a competitive proposition. cja


Stafford’s County Tyres wins GT Radial Performance Centre award STAFFORD-BASED County Tyres has won the GT Radial Performance Centre (GTPC) Dealer of the Quarter. The retailer was recognised for its “substantial” rebranding programme, which the tyre supplier says signals clearly the future direction of the business with the GiTi Tire manufactured brand. Weymouth Tyres was also “Highly Commended” by GT Radial for the quarter.

(l-r) Nigel Harris, owner of County Tyres, receives the Dealer of the Quarter framed certificate from Phil Burns, Micheldever’s area sales manager

During October-December 2012, County created and mounted new exterior signage, created point-of-sale displays in reception and added GT Radial to its website. The company also introduced an open evening to introduce the brand to staff, who will also receive training on GT Radial products. County also introduced till roll advertising, which is one strategy aimed at raising sales substantially in the next quarter. Weymouth Tyres moved away from part-worn tyres to become stockists of new products only, which has reinvigorated its sales. As a result of County’s accolade, the retailer receives £300 of high street vouchers, a framed certificate and an engraved shield, while Weymouth collected £150 in vouchers and a framed certificate. GiTi Tire and Micheldever launched the Dealer of the Quarter scheme to reward outstanding garages who excel in promoting GT Radial through the Passport To Profit programme, including promoting the brand locally, a commitment to work together to develop the business, innovative routes to market and tyre sales. Jenny Leeson, marketing manager



UK at GiTi Tire said: “Congratulations to County Tyres who really went that extra mile to get the brand’s logo out into the marketplace, a move that has paid real dividends.” Matt Horscroft, GT Radial brand manager at Micheldever, added: “The garage has seen a substantial sales increase in tyre sales which means that more Stafford motorists are enjoying a fantastic driving experience, everyone is a winner.” Passport to Profit has been designed to increase footfall and profits through tailor-made marketing initiatives including; courtesy cars, taxi wraps, websites and advertising. Focus and support is also placed on running a successful business with training, merchandising and ride and drive events included. Covering the complete GT Radial range of car, 4x4 and van products, the programme includes a focus on the Champiro UHP1, GiTi’s flagship product for the ultra high performance sector, and the Champiro VP1, a mainstream allround comfort design. akb



EA makes ‘operation broadway’ tyre dumping arrests



Stories from the past 20 years of T&A

March 1993 The joint venture between Continental and Czech company Barum came into being on 1st March. In Canada, Goodyear Tire & Rubber bought the remaining shares that it did not own of Goodyear Canada for C$ 18.7 million.

March 1998 Pneumant celebrated the production of the 100 millionth car tyre at its Riesa factory. A team from the UK set a world record, driving over 18,000 miles around the world in 21 days, 2 hours, 14 minutes. Their Vauxhall Frontera was fitted with Goodyear Wrangler tyres and only one had to be replaced – because of a puncture.

March 2003 Michelin took a 10 per cent stake in Hankook for an estimated US$ 33 million. Bridgestone bought shares in Nokian Tyre from Nokia for 78.34 million Euros, giving the Japanese company an 18.9 per cent share of the company.

March 2008 In Liberia, Firestone and the Government signed an agreement aimed at the rehabilitation and enhancement of the Liberian rubber industry. The foundation stone was laid for Apollo Tyre’s new OTR tyre production facility in India, at Limda, Gujurat state.


Five arrests were made during the last week of January as part of an Environment Agency investigation into alleged tyre dumping and “hoarding”. The Environment Agency reports that investigators, supported by Lancashire Police and Greater Manchester Police forces, raided three sites across the North of England to seize evidence as part of Operation Broadway. Operation Broadway has been running for seven months and is one of the National Environmental Crime Team’s major ongoing investigations. Other cases include those involving exports of illegal waste, organised criminal networks, or industrial scale fly-tipping. According to the agency, action is being taken to protect legitimate businesses and safeguard local communities motivated by the fire risks Illegally-hoarded used tyres pose and the health risks that are associated with such fires. Furthermore the Environment Agency is working with the Lancashire Fire Service and Greater Manchester Fire Service to ensure steps are taken to make the sites safe. Mat Crocker, Environment Agency Head of Illegals and Waste, said: ‘The Environment Agency will protect the legi-

timate recycling industry by being robust in tracking down waste criminals and bringing them to justice. As well as undercutting small businesses, waste crime risks damaging public health and the environment.’ Louis Hunt, Environment Agency Senior Investigating Officer, said: ‘The raid has been a success; this progress in Operation Broadway has only been possible with vital support from the police and fire services and intelligence shared through ‘Project Genga’ – a partnership aimed at disrupting and detecting organised crime across the region. This is an ongoing investigation and we would urge anyone with suspicions or knowledge of illegal waste activities to contact the Environment Agency or Crimestoppers’ Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s Station Manager Jim Fowler said: “The steps taken were necessary to keep the area around the site in Blackburn safe. The illegal activities that have been carried out on the premises put the local community at risk. Fire Safety Enforcement Officers are investigating the site to establish whether there have been any breaches of the Fire Safety Order and actions will be taken against the owners if they are required.’ cja

FIT opens 5th depot in Berkshire FIRST INDUSTRIAL TYRES LTD (FIT) has opened its fifth distribution depot. FIT, which was founded in 2010 by Edward Woolley, has opened the depot in Newbury, Berkshire with a view to serving the south and west of England. Prior to his latest venture, Edward Wooley was managing director of Mobile Industrial Tyres Ltd and Watts Industrial Tyre Services Ltd. FIT is now purportedly the UK’s largest independent solid tyre service supplier. According to the company, this latest move is in line with FIT’s plans to become “the natural national solid tyre supplier of choice” for all customers within the UK. Company representatives report that FIT has grown from “strength to strength” with Woolley saying FIT’s success is due the business’s commitment to good service, reliable stock levels, competitive pricing and strong product performance. FIT supplies most leading brands such as Trelleborg and Continental as well as products produced by Global Rubber Products. cja



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29/11/12 17:46

NEWS Part Worn Tyre Forum Meets In January’s NTDA News we said that newly-elected Vice Chairman Roger Griggs would be exploring, with members, ways of combating the trade in part worn tyres. In February, the inaugural meeting of the Part Worn Tyre Forum was held to discuss the subject. Present were representatives of leading tyre retailers and the forum was chaired by Roger Griggs. The first step the Forum set itself was to establish the size of the problem using figures from the Department for Business Information and Skills Used Tyre Working Group. Their latest figures relate to 2011 and, after discussion, it was estimated that the part worn market currently stands at around 5.5 million units. One of the attendees said that his staff had investigated how many part worn tyre dealers operate in Birmingham and the figure was an astonishing 800 plus!! The Tyre Industry Federation and Tyre Recovery Association are considering projects, currently in the development stage, aimed at further regulating the part worn market and registering sellers of these products. NTDA Director Richard Edy warned: “The NTDA is extremely wary of such schemes, believing that they could confer an aura of approval on part worn dealers and that this would conflict with the efforts of the tyre industry to educate the public in the potential dangers of some part worn tyres and their lack of value for money.”

New Tyre Collection Concept... “We don’t want our members providing feedstock to the part worn market and during the meeting we considered a proposal that would ensure that tyres collected from NTDA members’ premises do not find their way back into the UK market as part worns.” This unique approach to tyre collection will be further explored in subsequent forum meetings. It was debated whether or not the whole tyre industry should, probably through the TIF, employ professional lobbyists to get the message of safety implications of part worn tyres across. This will be brought up at the next TIF meeting. It was agreed at the Part Worn Forum that the NTDA should work more closely with Trading Standards and TyreSafe and support them in trying to enforce existing legislation more rigorously. The NTDA will put together a proposal for closer working with Trading Standards, aimed at closing down those part worn dealers who flout the legislation.

New Members The following companies were accepted as members of the Association by Council on 27 February. Full Members Kinross Tyres Ltd t/a Tyrefair Unit 10 Bridgend Industrial Estate, Kinross KY13 8GA Tel 01577 865656 Fax 01577 865666 E: Fastfit Station Ltd  (3 depots), Unit 2 Newmarket Court, Kingston, Milton Keynes MK10 0AQ Tel: 01908 288299   Fax: 01908 288291 E: Supplier Member Autoclimate Ltd, Unit 37 Atcham Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY4 4UG Tel: 0345 5050 900   Fax: 0345 5050 901

Martin Rowlands Bows Out Rowlands receives certificate Martin Rowlands has Martin from National Chairman Stephen Callow announced that he is leaving the tyre industry, having sold his company, Tyrefair. As many will know, over the years Martin has been an active member of the NTDA and has made a major contribution to the running of the Association. In addition to having been the Scottish representative on Council for over a decade, Martin was Chairman of the Scottish Region and NTDA National President between 2002/2005. In recognition of the contribution that Martin has made to the Association, the Council unanimously agreed to appoint Martin as an Honorary Life Member of the Association. Tyrefair is continuing as a member and, as is recorded elsewhere on these pages, its membership was approved at Council.


Latest Information for Members The latest service bulletin for NTDA members gives advance notice of the latest revision of the British Standard for the repairing of tyres – BS AU 159f. The Standard was last revised in 1997 and the latest version is currently under review. A draft document is expected to be issued shortly and comments from the trade will be welcomed before the final draft of the Standard is published. Among the changes are likely to be (for the first time) recommendations on repairs for agricultural tyres, plus there will be a definition of and advice on the repairing of self-supporting runflat tyres. With an increasing number of cars carrying a ‘mobility kit’ of a can of sealant and a compressor instead of a spare tyre, the new Standard will contain advice on these temporary repair products. ICE BULLETIN RVS NESEW k

isuzu Forward Trucks The Bulletin also contains information on the correct procedure on removing and replacing dual tyre configurations on the Isuzu Forward range of trucks. This problem was brought to our attention by a member, who was experiencing problemswww.n intda.this area and the Bulletin contains information from Isuzu, detailing the correct procedure and listing the correct torque settings. ing order Fig. 5 Tighten


for 5-hole wheel

rily and tempora wheels and tyres 1. Install the nuts. tighten the wheel take care double tyre, a rear wheel tyres When installing inner and outer valve. position of the 1 Internal tyre that the valve (fig 4. Legend: do not overlap. valve). 2 Outside tyre Fig. 4

ing order Fig. 6 Tighten

for 6-hole wheel

the wheel wheel nuts. tighten d torque in the 2. tighten the at the specifie s. nuts equally d in the diagram order indicate


Tightening Torqu Spec

Single tyre Dual tyre

nuts Front wheel tightening torque 138 – 196 N.m (14 -20 kg. m/ 101 – 145 lb.ft) 441 – 539 N.m (45 -55 kg.m/ 325 – 398 lb.ft)

Qty 6

5 or 6

Rear wheel nuts tightening torque 138 – 196 N.m (14 -20 kg. m/ 101 – 145 lb.ft) 441 – 539 N.m (45 -55 kg.m/ 325 – 398 lb.ft)

Qty 6

5 or 6

Peter contact the Editor bulletins please 67 07 07. in future service or call 08449 see included at: would like to Issue 02/13 or NTDA direct topics that you If there are any at: petergardner5@b Gardner by email g, mechanical, photocopyin by any means, and preparation in any form or in the compilation this system, or transmitted care has been taken omissions or advice given in stored in a retrieval Although great be reproduced, y for errors or of the publishers. publication may 2013 permission in writing any circumstances accept responsibilit No part of this Copyright ©NTDA without the prior cannot in recording or otherwise, accuracy, the publishers to ensure of this bulletin publication.

dard On New Repair Stan

The Way

t” with a that the “area may be is expected preparation) of the tyre. It tyres – of 10mm (after restricting the repair of maximum injury vehicle tyres, d relating to currently commercial service. The British Standar revised in 1997 and is tions during amended for was last sidewall deforma nt will be available BS AU 159f – the chance of a draft docume an anticipated limitations will under review; t shortly, with minor damage repairs often outside the of 2013. Such for public commen . Injuries quarter the second “Major repairs” the casing is publication in be deemed as nt to ensure to take into specialist equipme repaired in accordance regularly require revising ns. tyres gy and to operate at Standards need in products and technolo free from distortio d shall be able s pressures. the British Standar the result of meeting inflation account changes with are and s endation rMA, the speeds, loads the new recomm tatives from the NtDA, the shall not affect their original material d will (minor or major) between represen repairers and tyre repair Any repairs the new Standar tative description. repair to the represen the BtMA, major original service of repair for the major al Alan manufacturers. the group, is provide addition suppliers and revise the limits and Chair of who tyres and will from the NtDA, l Consultant for tech europe, shoulder area. commercial vehicle repair. g injuries in the the field of tyre Bithell, a technica detail regardin experience in ary repairing’, has many years’ an d refers to ‘tempor externallyis subject to the current Standar sealants and a tyre’s life it in of with d ed allow s course be damage During the these product which is associat of use and may (string repairs); for a limited period. Standard for enormous amount applied plugs ally the British ents for the with care in driven tradition repair be nt to requirem many ways. the vehicle be a permane specified the tyres for considered to Standard tyre repairs has and radial ply pneumatic they are not and in the new l with BS 159 cial vehicles ’ will be replaced repair of diagona accordance , cars and commer d ary repairing d (BS motorcycle, scooters . the new Standar the words ‘tempor Such tyres should be examine It s public highway ‘seal’. opportunity. recommendation used on the by the word to include repair for the first time an at the earliest tyre is AU 159g) is likely tions by a tyre technici the work of repairing the ance total ral tyre construc that perform ve accept res, Agricultu that for ies is imperati ents inspection procedu competent compan and will detail marking requirem entrusted to materials and for the repair. criteria, repair tyres. responsibility and tubeless d, like its for both tubed new Standar but it is noted that the porting tyre) be ent (self-sup should requirem It ed time the SSt is not a legal anyone Also for the first know as a runflat – is recognis practice and predecessors, ly much industry best follow its – more common the standard, although after recognised as foolish not to in require tyre would be and is defined ns will probably who repairs a s. repair limitatio ve manufacturer. debate minor recommendation of the respecti users the endorsement ic climate end ent. sudden difficult econom experience finally, in a their tyre investm 15% of tyres around to maximise to extend Only around punctures occur naturally wish is a safe way will and 90% of d will tyre repairing pressure loss the new standard Area new BS Standar the Professional the area. r and as tyres s to the tread shoulde all minor repairs, (known the life of such ensive recommendation for is filled repair of specify the area that the penetrating cavity provide compreh the successful and safe ry s. the . t it is mandato t) industry, enabling tic tyre. in-service element ge exposed to as a percenta and not left the modern pneuma is expressed width repair area t for minor nominal section directly to the and relates

Ntda techNical

386 helpliNe: 0121


enquiries, all your technical s who will answer the password. tyre technician to our team of if you have forgotten have free access protected – call head office NtDA Members password the service is


Automotive Tren

ds – Q4 2012

This is the latest in our series of company GfK. reviews of the UK car tyre market, GfK monitors a number of specialist tyre with information products sellers supplied by research stores) and Indepen into three groups: National , of which tyres is one. This is done dents (<9 stores). Multiples (100+ by dividing stores), Regiona Tyres are split into three categori l Multiples (9-100 es: Premium, Value and Budget.

Quick Market Overv


Figures for summer and all season – Sept 2012. car tyres show It is however, down 6.1% compare that the latest quarter tyres in Q4 2012 saw a growth d to the same compares with of 6.35% on July quarter in 2011. a figure of just 2012 The sales figure under 5.02 million The sales mix of 4.71 million tyres for Q4 2011. shows a fall in market share falling for the of premium tyres past Premium brands six quarters, with budget – indeed, their brands increasin share of the 42.6%, Value market g their 22.0% and Budget 37.2%, Value 20.9% and Budget 35.3%. One year share. In Q4 2011 the market has been 41.9%. on, in Q4 2012, was split GfK’s figures While passeng are Premium er car and 4x4 tyres were in quarter compare decline, light d to the same commercial tyre of tyres in this period in 2011. sales saw a 4% sector declined Looking at the uplift for the latest Passenger car by -3.48%, from figures for the tyre sales fell by -4%, 4x4 sales 19.21 million tyres in 2011 whole year, the total number to 18.54 million were down -7% tyres last year. but LCV sales rose +6%.

uK Car Tyre Market review Also of interest to members is the latest in our series of reviews of the UK tyre market, using information supplied by research company GfK. This latest leaflet looks at sales in the final quarter of 2012 and analyses these by speed rating and by type of tyre (Premium, Value and Budget). The Top 10 most popular sizes of tyre are given, again with percentage sales by type of tyre. GfK predicted that what it calls “unbranded” tyres – i.e. brands not identified by the retailer by name, would fall when tyre labelling was introduced and the figures for Q4 appear to bear this out. Of the types of tyre, Budget brands have market shares gained +7.1% in Q4 stood at of market share Premium 27.7%; a whole were over as follows, with Value 28.1% the 2011 shares and Budget 44.2%.the course of 2012 and the Budget: 42.9% (38.1%). In the in brackets. Premium The shares for Budget sector, lower than Q4 the year as 2011. the share of “unbrand : 28.6% (33.1%); Value: 28.5% (28.8%) ed” tyres in Q4 ; stood at 11.1% - a full 5%

Most Popular Sizes

The final informat ion tyre sizes. Togethe from the GfK report shows the top 10 most Q4 2012, together r, these tyres account for popular passeng 47.6% of the with the percenta er car summer market and the /all season ge sales of Premium table below shows (P), Value (V) the Top 10 for and Budget (B) 53.0% (P) tyres for each size. 16.4% (V) 16.6% (P) 30.6% (B) 24.3% (V) 23.3% (P) 59.1% (B) 22.3% (V) 23.2% (P) 54.4% (B) 15.1% (V) 35.1% (P) 61.8% (B) 11.9% (V) 20.2% (P) 53.0% (B) 34.2% (V) 11.6% (P) 45.7% (B) 21.9% (V) 31.5% (P) 66.5% (B) 24.6% (V) 71.2% (P) 43.9% (B) 23.7% (V) 40.9% (P) 5.2% (B) 25.3% (V) 33.8% (B) No part of

205/55 R16 V 175/65 R14 T 195/65 R15 H 205/55 R16 W 225/45 R17 W 195/50 R15 V 185/65 R15 H 185/60 R15 H 225/45 R17 Y 195/65 R15 V

this publication may be reproduced recording or otherwise, , stored in a retrieval without the prior this bulletin to system, or transmitted permission in ensure accuracy, writing of the in any form or the publishers publishers. Although by any means, cannot in any great mechanical, photocopyi circumstances accept responsibili care has been taken in the ng, compilation and ty for errors or preparation of omissions or advice given in this publication . Copyright ©NTDA2013 Ref:02/13

Diary Dates

Black Mark For Thomas Cook At its meeting at the end of February, one of the topics discussed by the NTDA Council was a TV advert for holidays. The advert, for Thomas Cook, shows a queue of people waiting to board a Thomas Cook coach. A man then crouches down near the rear wheel and removes the tyre valve with pliers, watched by a child and several adults. As he walks away, smiling, the voiceover says “holidays you won’t want to return from”. A piece of harmless fun? Over 100 viewers didn’t think so and they complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. Some complained that the ad was irresponsible for condoning and encouraging crime or anti-social behaviour, others that it encouraged behaviour prejudicing health and safety. Some thought that it could cause children to emulate the man’s behaviour and a few thought that the ad was offensive because it showed actions that might lead to a traffic accident and would cause ‘serious offence’ to victims of coach crashes and their relatives. So where does the NTDA come into this? The Association was contacted by the ASA and asked to comment on the advert from a professional viewpoint. Following discussion, Council decided that the advert was irresponsible from a Health and Safety point of view and that anyone removing a valve in such a way would be risking potentially serious injury. This was reported to the ASA and the ball is now in their court.

It is worthwhile pencilling in a couple of important dates in the NTDA’s 2013 calendar. Firstly, the Westlake/NTDA Golf Day will be held on Wednesday 24th July 2013 at Brocket Hall, Herts. Secondly, the NTDA’s 84th Annual Dinner and TAFF Awards presentation for 2013 will take place on Wednesday 16th October at the Hilton Metropole, NEC Birmingham. Further details of these events will appear in NTDA News nearer to the dates that they are taking place.


Tesco, Blackcircles developing relationship On-going e-commerce developments include funding for new ventures A

NUMBER OF NEW AND DEVELOPING E-COMMERCE PROJECTS came to the fore during February. Firstly there have been signs of expanding partnerships between e-tailers and famous supermarkets appears. Some details have yet to be confirmed, but what is clear is that has gone on the record about how it works withTesco. At the same time a relatively a new business online-based mobile tyre business shared details of the capital injection it recently received.

Dominic Clark

For his part managing director Michael Welch hinted that company may employ a closer relationship with leading supermarket Tesco as one way of moving towards its goal of £100 million (around 10 per cent of the UK market) in the next five years. Welch revealed the plans in an interview with The Telegraph published on 26 February, which also gave details of the guidance the company has received from a number of ex-Tesco executives and particularly former CEO Sir Terry Leahy. As well as being full of advice, Sir Terry has put his money where his mouth is, buying a 25 per cent stake in Blackcircles in 2011 – a move which no-doubt brings with it an incentive for the tyre business to listen to the wisdom of its mentor. According to the Telegraph interview, the business has enjoyed good sales growth and started to become profitable in 2004. However, before the ex-Tesco directors got involved Welch and his team are said to have ‘plateaued’ in what he refers to as the “boring“ route of expansion: “Every year we were growing 30 per cent, but in 2007 to 2009 that wasn’t exceptional. Everyone you spoke to seemed to be doing that, raising money through private equity, and asking why we weren’t.” A big change came in 2010 when the company began working with Tesco, under the “Tesco Tyres“ name. And the latest is that there are “negotiations



underway” to extend this relationship, but Welch isn’t giving any more away about exactly what this means yet. However, the hint is that it “could involve Tesco shoppers being able to engage with us in the stores“.

Mobile fitting business to benefit from capital injection At the other end of the spectrum, a relatively new mobile tyre business reports that it recently received significant amounts of funding from a venture capital firm. MMC Ventures Ltd reports that it and UK-based fund manager Enterprise Ventures have invested £640,000 in Tyres on the Drive, a business MMC describes as a “fast-growing and innovative online mobile tyre fitting service.” The funds are intended to support the expansion of Tyres on the Drive from its current area of operation in the North West and parts of the West Midlands into Yorkshire and fully into the Midlands. The mobile tyre fitting service intends to open new depots in Wakefield and Birmingham as part of this expansion.“ Tyres on the Drive was established 18 months ago by ex-Michelin manager Dominic Clark. The company now employs 18 staff, operates a fleet of 12 vans and is on course to turn over £6 million in the current financial year. This latest round of funding follows two earlier investments totalling £340,000 from The


North West Fund for Venture Capital, which is also managed by Enterprise Ventures. It brings the total investment in the company, including funding from the founder, to over £1.2 million. “During my career I spent so much time in cold, dirty tyre depots that I saw the need for a different business model,” comments Tyres on the Drive managing director Dominic Clark. “Customers love the convenience and the cost savings that we offer. Regional expansion was always part of our plan and, now the business is successfully established in the North West, it’s time to move on to the next stage of development.” Paul Betts, investment manager with Enterprise Ventures, adds: “The funding climate for small companies remains very difficult, even for those like Tyres on the Drive, with a compelling customer proposition and strong growth prospects. However by accessing investments from the different funds we manage and leveraging these against finance from other investors, we are often able to provide a solution.” “We have been hugely impressed with the growth of the business to date and look forward to helping management build a market leading national business,” shares Rory Stirling, investment director, MMC Ventures. “We believe the Tyres on the Drive model is very disruptive to the existing tyre retail market and provides customers with a far superior offering.” cja/sg



Steel haulier signs fleet supply deal with TTS WEST MIDLANDS TYRE DEALER Truck Tyre Solutions (TTS) ers and specialises in the movement of steel as well as reports securing a contract with one of the UK’s leading steel hauliers to supply Continental tyres as exclusive tyre fitment. Brierley Hill based A Hingley Transport runs a fleet of 80 top-weight tractor units and 180 trailKey tyre objectives for the family-run firm are safety and maximum tyre life, with a view to low pence per kilometre costs. Under the contract, every truck and trailer in the Hingley fleet will now have its tyres inspected monthly by technicians from TTS. As they complete each inspection, their findings are entered directly into the TTS database using a hand-held portable PC from TreadTracker. As well as being alerted by TTS of any immediate repair work that may be necessary, the system allows Hingleys to check the database at any time using password protected access, enabling them to obtain a wide range of up-to-date information on the condition of tyres on their vehicles.

carrying out general haulage throughout the UK. The company is part of the AH Group, which also refurbishes trailers and builds new trailers, all of which will be fitted with Continental tyres as original equipment.

“We’re delighted to be providing Hingleys with such a comprehensive tyre management service that is meeting their key objectives,” said Carl Falconer, a director of TTS. “Ensuring that tyres are kept in tip-top condition is not only a safety issue but it brings measurable cost savings by improving fuel efficiency and enabling tyres to have a subsequent life by regrooving and retreading under the ContiLifeCycle system. “Where new tyres are concerned we are able to offer expert advice on which Continental tyres are best suited to different applications, such as stop-start urban delivery work or long distance motorway running,” Falconer continued. “And we can specify tyres from the Continental

range for steer axles or drive axles and for off-road or winter conditions.” Dave Smith of Hingley Transport added: “Having TTS as our tyre partner has given us the confidence that where tyres are concerned we are in good hands and we can focus on our core business of meeting the needs of our customers. Their professional approach, along with the great value for money that Continental tyres represent and the use of the TreadTracker technology, means that we know exactly where we stand in regard to our tyres at all times and should also lead to significant savings on our annual tyre bill.” sg

Michelin roadshow helps Arval employees get the right pressure Following a series of Michelin Fill Up With Air roadshows, the number of employees at BNP Paribas Group vehicle rental company Arval driving their cars on correctly inflated tyres has increased significantly. Over the past four years the events, run in conjunction with Michelin, have seen an improveTracey Scarr, Arval fleet and ment of 38 per cent, the tyre road safety manager manufacturer says. Michelin staff checked the tyre pressures and tread depths of 151 Arval employee vehicles at the 2012 event, and more than two thirds of tyres tested were at the correct pressure or less than seven psi under-inflated. The number of Arval employee cars found to have tyre pressures considered to be very dangerous – more than 15 psi under-inflated – has dropped to three per cent in four years. Michelin says the increase in correct tyre pressures has been encouraged by the installation of a Michelin Man air-line at Arval’s head office in Swindon; a tyre pressure gauge that


employees and visitors to the Arval Centre can use for free. Tracey Scarr, Arval’s fleet and road safety manager, said: “Working with Michelin on the regular Fill Up With Air events and installing the Michelin Man pressure gauge on-site has really helped driver awareness of the importance of correct tyre pressures. This is shown by the positive results that we are seeing. “We began holding Michelin’s Fill Up With Air events to understand if employees were properly maintaining their tyres and to increase employee awareness of the benefits of doing so. These events give all Arval employees, whether they drive for business or not, the opportunity to have their tyres checked by an independent expert. Paul Brady, Michelin’s key account manager for Arval, said: “We have checked 736 vehicles at Arval since 2008 and we are really pleased to see a continuing improvement in results. “It goes to prove that the effort the business is going to in developing safety awareness among drivers is really paying off. Arval is setting a fantastic example and we would encourage other companies to follow suit.” akb




The cost of the pothole plague British motorists paying out £1 billion a year to repair pothole damage MOTORISTS ARE PAYING OUT over £1 billion on repairs to rectify the damage caused by potholes. A study released by Halfords Autocentres, shows as many as 8 million vehicles a year suffer steering and suspension damage which may be attributed to poorly maintained road surfaces. Last year KwikFit estimated that pothole damage cost roughly half the latest figure, £473 million.


Research produced by shows that complaints over potholes have almost doubled from a year ago. Councils were being notified at a rate of 54 a day in December, a 60 per cent increase on the average for the year. Rectifying the damage caused by potholes can be unexpectedly costly, with an average repair bill of £135. Rory Carlin from Halfords Autocentres explains: “Even hitting a small pothole can easily damage wheels, tyres and affect steering alignment but serious suspension damage is becoming a more common occurrence. “From bent anti-roll bars to damaged shock absorbers, the problems are exacerbated by three factors; the inability of local authorities to keep pace with highway maintenance, an aging vehicle fleet more susceptible to damage as drivers keep cars for longer and component complexity, which drives up the cost of each individual repair.” Some regions had far higher incidences of pothole damage than others, with drivers from the North East being hit hardest with a £181 million bill, closely followed by motorists in the Midlands who pay out around £175 million for repairs. Those areas where drivers are least likely to encounter costly problems are Wales and the East of England where the


repair bills for pothole-related damage are £53 million and £58 million respectively though lower traffic density, rather than better quality of road surface, may be masking the true underlying threat.

Councils paying out too As councils, local authorities and the Highways Agency have a duty of care under The Highways Act to take reasonable measures to ensure that problems such as potholes are found and dealt with swiftly, they are having to fork out for potholes too. According to consumer magazine Which?, local councils in England and Wales paid out £22.8 million in compensation to drivers for pothole related damage in 2012. The Which? findings prompted TyreSafe to warn that the current ‘pothole epidemic’ blighting the UK’s roads is not only causing added financial burden for drivers and councils, but also carries the risk that it could lead to a rise in the num-

ber of tyre related road casualties. “Hitting a pothole can cause a number of tyre and wheel problems which can have a serious impact on road safety,” explained TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson. “Visible damage such as buckled wheels or lumps in the tyre are the most obvious signs of a problem which must be addressed by a qualified professional. However, hidden problems such as cracked alloys can be just as dangerous.” Indeed, such is the scale of the pothole problem that one TyreSafe member reported that more than 100 customers with damaged alloy wheels visited one of its outlets in just the last month alone. Furthermore, following the ‘perfect storm’ conditions for the formation of potholes, many road experts are now predicting months of motoring misery ahead. “If drivers do hit a pothole, it’s important that they check their tyre pressures regularly over the next few days to see if there is any gradual loss of pressure,” adds Jackson. “Hairline fractures in the alloy wheel can lead to air escaping and low pressure can have devastating consequences.” Other pothole related damage that drivers are advised to look out for include cuts, lumps or bulges in the tyre as well as any changes to the vehicle’s feel or handling which can be a sign of misalignment. cja/sg

According to the latest figures, the consumer cost of pothole damage could have doubled to £1 billion in just a year



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Pirelli Carlisle hosts Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant HER MAJESTY’S LORD-LIEUTENANT FOR CUMBRIA, an Honorary Officer appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister, Claire Hensman, enjoyed a visit to Pirelli’s factory in Carlisle earlier this week. Pirelli’s northern base employs more than 800 people and Mrs Hensman was accompanied on a tour of the Cumbriabased factory by her husband Peter and Professor Joe Hendry, Carlisle City Council leader. Alan Wilson, Pirelli Carlisle’s engineering manager, hosted the group on their tour. Following the visit, Wilson commented: “Our visitors were surprised by the scale of the Carlisle operation and were impressed by the technical complexity and prestigious customer portfolio. Mrs Hensman expressed particular interest in the Pirelli apprenticeship programme and the opportunities available to local young people.” akb

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Cumbria, Claire Hensman toured Pirelli’s Carlisle plant

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Bandvulc upgrades fleet software BANDVULC

IS UPGRADING the Galahad fleet management software used by its 23 member Key Partner Network through the introduction of its ‘Gateway’ programme. According to the company, the Gateway portal will assist key partners in their management of BTC business and provide them with ‘tools’ with which to enhance their own operations and sales. Galahad Gateway is said to enable checks of vehicle history, tyre policy and numerous other facts at the touch of a button. It also provides them with access to downloads such as marketing information, brochures and updates as well as various forms and procedures. Customer sales packs will be accessible through the portal as well as information on new and retread tyre ranges supplied by or through Bandvulc, together with pricing, availability and ordering. Bandvulc’s unique SWORD programme represents another development. This new app enables fleet inspections via android phones and tablets eliminating the need for a PC. Inspection data entered through SWORD links directly to the Galahad fleet list meaning no additional administration is necessary. User can also view inspection progress of a fleet from a mobile. Since September 2012 96,000 tyres have been inspected through Galahad SWORD and the system is designed to manage even the largest BTC fleets. A team of in-house programmers is said to be key to providing this bespoke software, with work further develop Galahad SWORD constantly underway. “Our new SWORD software package is the latest and most advanced system on the market. It has been developed by working in conjunction with some of our key partners thereby ensuring that we provide them with something they are keen to use and which they and the end-user benefit from greatly”, commented director Ryan O’Connell, adding: “Considerable investment has also been made to ensure the system is


as safe and secure as possible.” Bandvulc sees its Key Partner Network as an extension of its business and as such looks for the same high level of service and quality as it demands from its own operations. All service providers have to fulfil pre-set minimum requirements before they are eligible to join BTC including annual insurance and waste licence checks, quality system audits, training, adherence to policy charters and compliance to customer requirements. Such assessments are part of BTC’s everyday activity and service providers receive annual certificates to confirm they are operating to BTC’s instructions. Service Level Agreements for each fleet detail all the work that needs to be undertaken on

each of the fleets by the service provider. This is supported by BTC conducting site checks utilising its fleet auditing team to ensure policy adherence and service levels are maintained to high standards. Philip West, Bandvulc Group Commercial Director is fully convinced of the benefit Bandvulc’s KP Network has brought to the business, in all commercial activities: “Sales to Bandvulc/BTC through our Key Partner Network grew by 8 per cent last year. This is excellent news in today’s economic climate. We see our partners as key in what is a challenging, fast pace industry. Supporting and providing them with every advantage possible is a win all round, for customers, key partners and ourselves”. cja

German fleet extends supply deal SRH Hamburg has extended its fleet contract with Bandvulc Tyres in conjunction with Vergölst GmbH, Bandvulc’s exclusive service provider partner in Germany. This means an extension of three years on the Wastemaster MKIII tyre, much to the delight of Simon Arnold, Bandvulc’s overseas busiHamburg’s sanitation department (SRH) is the city’s largest Environmental Services ness development manager: provider “This is great news and means that, along with recent continuations and extensions with BSR Berlin and AWM Munich, we have successfully retained the three largest city councils in Germany. We will continue to supply these prestigious organisations with Wastemaster products as well as other tyres from our retread range. The environmentally-friendly Wastemaster is their nominated policy tyre, as it works so well for them. During initial three-year contracts with these councils the Wastemaster has proven its reputation for high puncture/tear resistance and its versatility in both regional and urban environments. It has also undergone rigorous testing within the councils and by external partners”. Simon Arnold added: “Securing the largest German councils is testament to the performance that our Wastemaster tyre offers. Now well proven within these councils, ongoing testing of the product in all aspects against other tyre makes, continues to confirm the Wastemaster’s unparalleled attributes”. Hamburg’s sanitation department (Stadtreinigung Hamburg ‘SRH’) is the city’s largest Environmental Services provider in the field of waste management. With around 2,450 employees, SRH offers both comprehensive recycling waste disposal and cleaning services for public, commercial and private clients. As a public sector waste management and certified waste management company SRH collects, transports, stores and treats the waste of some 885,000 households and 100,000 businesses. cja



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Princess Royal opens Hankook’s new warehouse


Hankook says its market share in Britain is on the rise, and this has led to the need for an additional local stock holding facility. The company has established a new warehouse in Daventry to meet its requirements, and recently celebrated the opening of the new facility. Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, patron of charity Transaid – a charity also supported by the tyre maker – joined staff at Hankook’s new Daventry warehouse on 7 February, where she officially opened the new stock holding facility. “Hankook Tyre UK has been based in Daventry since 1997 and our continued increase in market share has led to the need for an additional stock holding facility,” said Tony Lee, managing director at Hankook Tyre UK Ltd. “The increase in capacity will allow us to improve the service and supply to our highly valued customers, said Tony Lee, managing director at Hankook Tyre UK Ltd. “As a proud

member of society Hankook always contributes to those in need, thus having supported Transaid for many years now as they continue to improve transport across Africa and other developing countries. We are delighted that HRH chose to commemorate our recent expansion by officially opening our new warehouse.” Her Royal Highness unveiled a plaque at the 150,000 square foot warehouse to commemorate the occasion and expressed her support to Hankook’s expansion. Hankook Tyre UK has supported Transaid for over six years. In June 2012, two of Hankook UK’s staff undertook the Transaid Cycle Madagascar Challenge, where they raised an additional £6,600. Gary Forster, CEO of Transaid said: “Transaid is delighted to be involved with the opening of this site. Hankook Tyre UK has made a significant contribution to Transaid’s work in Africa through the donation of funds and gifts in kind. Their

The Princess Royal unveils a plaque at the new facility

support enables us to continue our projects which save lives and reduce poverty for rural communities across Africa by providing them with better transport solutions. We are honoured that our patron has attended today in recognition of Hankook’s support.” sg

Michelin joins Industrial Cadets programme MICHELIN IS ONE OF SEVERAL north Staffordshire companies to join an initiative to give young people an insight into potential careers in industry. The scheme, entitled “Industrial Cadets”, is a response to the concerns of engineering and manufacturing companies, who say there is a skills shortage in this area, affecting the sector’s ability to expand. Initially launched in Redcar by Tata Steel and supported by the Prince of Wales, Industrial Cadets is being rolled out nationally by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT). Michelin joins a group of companies including Dudson, McCamley UK and Seddon Property Services, alongside support from Keele University, in a local scheme called Business in the Community (BITC), which is working with Industrial Cadets in Stoke-on-Trent. The BITC project in Burslem will help 12 students in year nine from Haywood Engineering College and the Co-operative Academy the chance to undergo their Cadet training across a wide range of industries. This “shared” cadet programme is the first of its kind in the UK and throughout the eight week course students will visit the various companies’ sites. They will complete real life exercises in many manufacturing business functions, including design, marketing, production, finance, human resources, logistics and how to set up a business. The ‘shared’ programme started on Tuesday, 22 January at Michelin’s Riverside offices, launched by the head teachers of


the two schools before the students are introduced to Michelin and have a tour of the Campbell Road factory. Elaine Le Montais, who has been seconded by Midland Heart to Business in the Community as a business connector, explains: “When we initially heard of the pilot scheme at Tata steel in Redcar, I approached a couple of our local companies to see if we could replicate the model here at Stoke. It soon became clear that some of the companies felt they could provide a more diverse experience for the students by cooperating in a ‘shared’ programme, and as far as we know this is the only scheme of its type. We are extremely fortunate here in Stoke to be running two programmes, one following the Tata Steel model at Steelite and the ‘shared’ programme with a group of companies.“ Mike Cole, community involvement manager from Michelin comments: “A career in manufacturing isn’t just about being an engineer or working on the production line; there are an abundance of exciting jobs that can provide people with a really interesting and challenging career. Programmes like this encourage young people into the sector and are key to igniting a passion for industry. It also allows companies involved to show just how vibrant the job market is in the local area as it’s important we have young people coming into industry to ensure our businesses continue to be able to contribute to the local economy.” akb



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KRT to exhibit at new Plantworx construction show Kings Road Tyres (KRT) has announced that it will exhibit at the new construction industry show, Plantworx as distributor of Michelin’s industrial tyre range. Taking place on 14-16 May, 2013 at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry and, with backing from the Construction Equipment Association and more than 100,000sqm of space devoted to live construction equipment, KRT says it is likely to be the largest event of its kind in the UK. KRT will use the occasion to showcase its distributorship of the high performance Michelin AG Industrial Tyres range, which includes market-leading products for telescopic handlers, excavators, all-terrain forklifts, tractors and backhoe loaders. Michelin tyres on show will include the XMC range for telescopic handlers, backhoes and loaders, designed to deliver a 46 per cent increase in longevity; and the Bibsteel All Terrain tyre for skid steers, which offers 12 per cent soft ground traction improvement, reducing slippage, saving time and lowering fuel consumption. “KRT are strong believers in the value of trade shows and recognise the potential of the new Plantworx event to help us get closer to customers in the construction market,” says Tim Bader, KRT’s purchasing and marketing manager. Visitors are expected from all construction sectors; civil engineering, groundworks, contractors, utilities, highways, demolition, plant and tool hire. “These demanding applications and working conditions need the right tyres for equipment to deliver sustained performance. With this in mind we will be promoting the Michelin industrial range to the plant and construction managers, contractors and machine operators we expect to meet at the show,” added Tim Bader. akb


Doncaster Council signs ATS Euromaster for Government Procurement Services

ATS EUROMASTER has retained a major tyre contract with Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council under the new Government Procurement Services (GPS) process. The Yorkshire council is the first in the UK to sign with ATS-E since it was awarded coveted supplier status to public sector organisations across the UK in August 2012, as part of a multi-brand tyre supply deal on the GPS framework agreement RM955. The contract is initially for a fouryear term, with the option of a 12-month extension for a total of five years. ATS-E will fit a variety of tyre brands to Doncaster Council’s 750 cars, light commercial vehicles and trucks, which includes minibuses, mobile libraries, gritters and sanitation vehicles. It will also fit, service and inspect tyres on the council’s 200 items of wheeled plant – largely comprised of grass cutters, diggers and landscaping machinery. In addition to carrying out weekly fleet checks, ATS Euromaster will also provide a 24/7 home-care tyre service to all lone workers at the council who are required to drive cars as part of their work in the community, for example when looking after the elderly in their homes. Doncaster fleet engineer, Richard Speight says: “Whilst still achieving savings, the product and service had to be paramount. In choosing ATS Euromaster’s multi-branded offer we knew we had a proven supplier with the wide-ranging expertise to support our diverse fleet.


“ATS Euromaster has particularly impressed us with their special service proposition for our lone workers. Even in the early hours of the morning they are typically there within an hour of a tyrerelated breakdown being reported and that makes a big difference to our employees.” Speight says pricing was a factor in his decision but that service was the most important factor – the demanding work done by the council’s vehicles can lead to punctures on the move and he wanted confidence that any service provider the council chose would be able to meet the demands of the job. The contract is supported through ATS Euromaster’s centre in Doncaster. ATS-E previously serviced the council’s tyres through its supplier status as part of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) framework agreement. Following the abolition of OGC deal at the end of 2011, ATS Euromaster retained Doncaster’s business temporarily through Doncaster’s membership of the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation, but the council wanted the longer-term solution provided by the RM955 framework. akb


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Time to diversify? Ancillary garage services offer alternative income streams in tough times After a double-dip recession in the UK last year and with widespread financial turmoil across Europe, no-one is denying that these are tough times for garages, autocentres and tyre specialists. And in tough times you need options. So this month we are taking a look at the role that non-tyre services play in the tyre business and asking what they offer garages. For the purposes of this feature we are lumping together everything that is not a tyre and calling it all “ancillary garage services” . Everything that’s not a tyre is probably a clearer definition, but this offers a clear category for all the products that aren’t our beloved round black circles.

After tyres, brakes are the single largest automotive aftermarket sales item. Does a reduction in demand for tyres mean segmentation will be more evenly spread as the market recovers?

Last year tyre retail volumes fell between two and three per cent, if you take a consensus of market views. This followed several years of decline following the outbreak of financial pandemonium that came to the fore in 2008 meaning annual tyre volumes in mature markets such as Europe in general and the UK in particular have been slowly deviating from their long term development trends and as a result fewer tyres are being sold each year. The effect this has had on tyre retailers has been magnified by the widely reported increase in part worn tyre sales, an issue that is especially influential in the UK. These tyres are generally sold by unidentifiable and unregulated operations, but the best estimates say part-worn sales are hovering around record levels. The latest government Used Tyre Working Group (UTWG) data, for example, estimates that UK part worn tyre market at 4.4 million units, approaching 15 per cent of the total replacement market. At the same time declining fuel sales and similarly slowing mileage data tells of another factor pushing down tyre change frequency that can be seen to a greater or lesser extent across Europe. In February the Department for Transport released statistics demonstrating that road traffic was down in Britain during the fourth quarter of last year and for 2012 as a whole. Over the year, the volume of all motor vehicle traffic fell by 0.4 per cent to 302.6 billion vehicle miles. Cars accounted for 240.7 billion vehicle miles, which is 79.4 per cent of all motor vehicle traffic and broadly the same proportion as in recent years. But


– coming after a long line of mileage declines – this decline is more significant than it looks. To put the numbers into perspective it has been over a decade since British vehicle miles were lower, totalling 236.9 billion vehicle miles in 2001. (See “Miles Driven” table for more on this) Bringing all the talk of trends, statistics and lunar mileages back down to earth, Tyres & Accessories recently had the opportunity to hear first-hand what this means for tyre dealers themselves during a visit to a local depot for a routine service. While paying for some fitting and balancing work, the local dealer put a human face to all the figures and confirmed that demand has been falling each year and that even the saving grace of winter tyres that had helped in previous years didn’t provide salvation at the end of 2012. He also recounted how earlier that same day a customer came in with a broken exhaust and was reduced to tears when they pointed out that all four tyres on her car were illegal and therefore needed to be replaced. She had already borrowed money from family members for the exhaust repair she knew needed doing. As far as she was concerned there simply wasn’t any money for the tyres too, leaving the depot manager in a quandary about letting a customer with illegal tyres drive off the forecourt. According to data collected by Micheldever Tyre Services, such stories are far from unique. The leading tyre wholesaler’s quarterly tread depth analysis shows that between March 2012 and March 2013 between 50 and 60 per cent of tyres taken off




in depots were already below the 1.6 millimetre legal limit. A further 40 per cent were on or just above it and only around three per cent were above 2 millimetres. Flicking back to when the research began in June 2008 it is clear to see that that the situation has deteriorated markedly over the last four or five years. Back then only around 15 per cent of tyres brought into depots were already illegal. Now it is more than triple that. (See “Tread Depths” table for further details) What we can see from both the anecdotal account and all the figures we have seen is that consumers continue to face significant budgetary pressures and that this has arguably led to de-segmentation (where consumers trade down from premium products to less expensive tyres, but that subject’s another article all by itself) and in the UK at least many others are choosing to buy part worn tyres as a substitute for new replacement tyres. However, as clear as these figures are and as moving as our story may be, we in the tyre industry still want to offer better products and services to customers in contrast with some of the market regression that can be observed and of course it is natural that tyre business want to maintain and

Europe automotive aftermarket revenue segmentation - 2011

Source: Tyres & Accessories research Third party data

Tyres & Accessories 3/2013

United Kingdom fast fits revenue segmentation - 2011

Source: Tyres & Accessories research Third party data


Tyres & Accessories 3/2013

increase sales and profitability.

A bigger pie means a bigger piece While on the one hand our aforementioned sob story speaks volumes about economic pressure on purchases, it also highlights another point – the importance of capitalising on all the business opportunities available to depots. This is something that tyre specialists have traditionally been very good at, readily identifying new services that are complementary to their existing offering. And when you consider the size of the aftermarket in general, who can blame you for wanting to increase your piece of the pie? While the European aftermarket has felt the effects of the financial crisis as much as any sector, there is no denying that it is a massive sector and therefore represents a potential opportunity. According to relatively recent third party research, the value of the European automotive aftermarket sector shrank to a value of around US$199 billion in full-year 2011 calculations. However the current forecasts suggest this could

United Kingdom automotive aftermarket revenue segmentation 2011

Source: Tyres & Accessories research Third party data

Tyres & Accessories 3/2013

An Autocentre (Halfords) revenue segmentation - 2012

Source: Halfords Autocentres


Tyres & Accessories 3/2013



continue to shrink by another 3 per cent by 2016. The largest part of this (around 35 per cent) is occupied by the specialist crash repair sector. But the next largest chunk represents a crossover region for tyre fitters. Almost 20 per cent of total European automotive aftermarket revenues are generated via the replacement of so-called wear and tear parts such as brakes. The third largest sector is tyres, which occupy around 15 per cent of the total and one which the tyre business is already aware of. In the UK the shares occupied by crash work and wear and tear repairs are roughly 10 per cent higher each. With this is mind, it is no surprise to learn of suggestions that the dividing line between what we might refer to as autocentres (garages specialising in all routine services) and fast-fits (tyre specialists also offering brakes, exhausts and batteries amongst other things) has blurred somewhat as the latter has taken on more ancillary services over the years. And with the UK leading the way in terms of the dominance of fast fits and with these businesses being more reliant on tyre sales than other comparable operations on the continent it is no surprise that these businesses are at the forefront of integrating additional services into their business models. The fact that they are also very strong in terms of fleet business makes the thought of offering additional servicing all the more appealing. In very broad brush strokes around two-thirds of UK fast-fit turnover is generated by tyre sales and somewhere around a third is generated by other wear and tear sales (such as exhaust batteries and brakes). Servicing accounts for just a few percentage points between the two, meaning there is great potential for increase on the non-tyre side of things. To put this in perspective let’s compare this with the approach of a company moving in the opposite direction (from classic autocetre in the direction of doing additional tyre sales).

According to its most recent investor’s presentation, Halfords Autocentres generates 40 per cent of its £111 million turnover from “other” repairs; 20 per cent from servicing, 18 per cent from brakes, 11 per cent from MOTs and 11 per from tyres. However there are two observations to add to this: firstly, autocentre tyre sales appear to be growing; and secondly the balance of work (and therefore risk/opportunity) is much more evenly spread at the autocentres.

Options, the old and the new So what are the ancillary service options available to those wishing to broaden their horizons? The time-tested combination of tyres, exhausts, brakes and batteries has often been supplemented with MOT testing, which also naturally lends itself to related repair business. However recent changes to testing regulations have put some off embarking on this route. Instead of this (and in some cases as well at it) fast-fits and tyre specialists have reportedly taken to things like nitrogen inflation, menu servicing, air-conditioning recharges and SMART repairs. There are also opportunities to be had with tyre pressure monitoring technology TPMS (see last month’s feature for more on this). The latest opportunity Tyres & Accessories has heard about is radio upgrades. Yes you read it right, radio upgrades. T&A has to give credit to NTDA director Richard Edy for bringing this one to our attention as the association is already researching opportunities for tyre dealership to provide the necessary upgrades to car stereos that will enable to receive digital broadcast signals once the conventional FM signal. Now that is an example of innovative diversification.

Vehicle miles by vehicle type in Great Britain, annual from 2000 to 2011 Billion vehicle miles Year

Cars and taxis


Buses & coaches

Light vans 1

Goods vehicles 2

All motor vehicles

Pedal cycles

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

233.7 236.9 242.7 242.3 245.0 244.0 246.9 247.3 245.4 244.8 239.8 240.7

2.8 3.0 3.1 3.4 3.2 3.3 3.2 3.4 3.1 3.2 2.9 2.9

3.2 3.2 3.2 3.3 3.2 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.1 3.1 3.1 2.9

32.4 33.2 34.0 35.7 37.4 38.4 39.9 41.9 41.6 40.7 41.0 41.4

17.5 17.4 17.6 17.7 18.2 18.0 18.0 18.2 17.8 16.3 16.4 15.9

289.7 293.7 300.6 302.4 306.9 306.9 311.4 314.1 311.0 308.1 303.2 303.8

2.6 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.6 2.8 3.0 3.0 3.1

Tyres & Accessories 3/2013

Source: DfT National Road Traffic Survey


1 Not exceeding 3,500 kgs gross vehicle weight, post 1982 2 Over 3,500 kgs gross vehicle weight, post 1982 3 Data for 1993 onwards are not directly comparable with the figures for 1992 and earlier 4 The 2011 estimates presented here were revised in August 2012 to correct for omitted data for a small number of sections of the major road network in Scotland. Further details are avaliable at statistics/series/traffic/ 2011 Road Traffic Estimates - Note of Revision Aug 2012.pdf




Hard times for exhaust makers Quinton Hazell Cheadle sold, other sites closing, but resurrection plan in place What began as a bad year for the British exhaust manufacturing industry took less than a month to get worse as first Bosal (see textbox for more) then Klarius Group entered administration. However, now that the dust has settled there appears to have been two significantly different outcomes for the pair of North West-based emissions systems makers. And with a phoenix plan in action, it looks like the Klarius story has the best outcome so far, but not without the loss of scores of jobs. Klarius Group Limited put its Quinton Hazell Automotive Limited (QH) into administration on 6 February 2013. Shortly afterwards the administrators reached an agreement to sell the Klarius emissions business based at Cheadle, Staffordshire to Klarius Products Limited, pre-serving 234 jobs. Meanwhile the intellectual property rights relating to the QH business were sold separately to Tetrosyl I-Tec Limited, part of Tetrosyl Limited. QH had employed 407 in the UK before the redundancies were announced. 196 workers lost their jobs during the administration process - 117 were made redundant at the QH Glasson Dock site in Lancaster plus another 79 at the QH Colwyn Bay site in North Wales. Both sites have ceased to operate. 10 more had worked at the firm's Manchester Airport headquarters, by the end of it none of these positions had survived. The good news was that 234 jobs at the Cheadle, Staffordshire development and production site have been secured for the time being through the sale to Klarius Products. Commenting at the time, Paul Flint, joint administrator and associate partner at KPMG, said: “We are pleased to announce the sale of the Cheadle site – saving 234 jobs. Despite marketing the remaining divisions for sale, we were unable to find a buyer and [took] the difficult decision to wind them down.”

Tetrosyl buys Quinton Hazell brand with a view to outsourcing production While Quinton Hazell as we know it may have perished, it looks like the name will live on. Bury-based Tetrosyl acquired the rights to make and sell car parts, including brakes, clutches and timing belts under the Quinton Hazell brand. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News (MEN), Tetrosyl chairman Peter Schofield said that manufacturing of these will be outsourced, and distributed through Tetrosyl's existing network. And the silver lining is that the deal could mean a number of additional warehouse and sales jobs at Tetrosyl. “Quinton Hazell has got a tremendous pedigree and is one of the leading marques in the after-market parts sector. The brand never had a problem, but it suffered from a legacy


distribution deal that was a very expensive way of distributing across the UK and Europe. The deal means we can supply a more complete range of products, and I would like to think we could add £50 million to our turnover within 18 months,” Schofield told MEN.

Prolonged pressures from competition and economic environment In addition to the distribution woes, the problem at Klarius/Quinton Hazell was that prolonged pressures produced by challenging trading conditions in the automotive parts sector impacted Quinton Hazell’s ability to trade. This created cashflow issues and affected Quinton Hazell’s ability to operate as a going concern. Furthermore, the management has previously been quoted as saying that sales had been affected by competition from manufacturers in the Far East. Manchester-based Klarius bills itself as Europe's largest manufacturer of aftermarket car parts. The business bought the Cheadle plant in 2007, when chairman Tony Wilson acquired the European division of US-based exhausts maker Arvin Meritor in a deal understood to have been worth £12 million. Prior to the administration the company had said it produced more than two million replacement exhausts and catalytic converters for road cars a year. The company's R&D operations are also located in Cheadle. Local news sources report that the group has not filed annual accounts at Companies House since October 2011 when figures for 2010 showed a pre-tax profit of £23.3 million on sales of £202 million. Klarius came sixth in last year's Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 report, which ranks business with the largest international sales. In November 2012 the company sold its QH Ireland business to CD Group. Klarius Group operates three subsidiaries in Europe; QH France SAS, QH Deutschland and QH España. However the business pointed out that these companies are separate legal entities and have not been included in the UK administration. cja




Johnson Controls unveils new VARTA brand identity Europe-wide campaign includes new website launch Battery uses on modern vehicles

On 17 January battery specialist Johnson Controls unveiled a revitalisation of the Varta battery brand with a new logo. a new slogan. new product design and a completely revised online presence. The new look is being rolled out as part of the Europe-wide campaign with the aid of the “It all starts with Varta” strapline.

According to the company Johnson Controls is investing in the future through the campaign. In a market that has undergone constant change over the years, the Varta brand is designed to come across as contemporary and innovative. The guiding principle embodied in the new strapline refers to the company’s leading market position in the field of starter batteries – and harks back to the history of the name and the trust placed in it by customers and business partners alike.

Wholesalers and workshops benefit from the campaign Varta is marketing the new identity, and at the same time supporting wholesalers and partner workshops, with a panEuropean media campaign intended to bring the brand closer to customers. “We want the Varta brand to enjoy an even better position and demonstrate that our technologies truly pave the way for the sector,” said Mike Hall, Country Manager. “The campaign is designed to encourage our wholesalers and workshops to offer high-quality Varta products – and services to match.” Further the brand’s evolution is said to be reflected in its new look, from the logo and product design through to the online presence. “In this way, we’re sending a clear signal – that Varta offers batteries and the services to match,” says Hall. With start-stop technology key to OEMs meeting their 2020 emissions targets, being ready to service this is also of great importance to garages. According to a survey carried out by Johnson Controls as much as 70 per cent of garages realise that this will increasingly affect the way they work in the next five years. In 2011, more than 3 million vehicles already featured start-stop technology. And the projections suggest it’ll be more than 30 million in 2015. With new technologies such as mild and full hybrid, and electric vehicles set to follow in just a few years, being prepared for this will eventually be a question of survival. As start-stop vehicles come with complex systems, however, they are far from straightforward to repair. And obviously batteries are an integral part of these systems. With the Varta


Start-Stop Service Programme and new VSSP 2.0 diagnosis centre launched at the end of 2012, Johnson Controls reports that it has the first battery dedicated solution on the market for independent workshops. The brand therefore offers support, for example with the Varta Start-Stop Service Programme (VSSP), to independent workshops in particular when it comes to Start-Stop battery replacements. In actual fact, the installation and replacement of these rechargeable batteries is taking on ever-greater significance. With the Start-Stop AGM technology and the PowerFrame grid integrated into the batteries, Varta offers innovative solutions in this area.

Europe-wide campaign With more than 125 years of experience and victories in tests such as the recently published ADAC/Stiftung Warentest battery test, Varta enjoys a high level of trust – both from original equipment suppliers and in the replacement parts business. “The name Varta stands for leading technologies and a high level of reliability. This is what we also want to demonstrate with the new logo and slogan, “It all starts with Varta,” explained Hall. The media campaign is the broadest to date throughout the company’s history: in January, it was unveiled in 20 countries across Europe and will reach over five million people. “Furthermore, it is now easier to distinguish our batteries from each other, and even simpler to recognise them. The PowerFrame logo that the batteries feature gives customers the confidence that they are purchasing top quality,” added Hall. In future, the completely revamped Varta website will be a reflection of the brand’s global alignment. The new online presence has been optimised for higher search engine visibility, with navigation fast and straightforward and information on all products and services comprehensive. cja




Bosal goes into administration

Derbyshire exhaust manufacturers celebrate 30 year anniversary

Bosal UK, which is best known as an exhaust manufacturer but also makes roof racks and towbars, entered administration in January. The news was a bad start to the year for the firm and contrasts starkly with the success of OE customer Jaguar Landrover various news sources report that the decision to call in the administrators follows the confirmation of a contract to supply Land Rover with the exhaust systems for its popular Evoque model.

Falcon and sister company Milltek are celebrating 30 years in business, with plans to commemorate the landmark in the companies’ marketing activities. Started by Phil Millington, who trained in one of UK’s first dedicated exhaust centres in 1970s Devon, both companies are still run by the founder. Making the move from retail to manufacturing suited Millington, and following the foundation of Falcon, the team grew, becoming one of the leading names in the Classic Car market.

On 11 January 2013, the company issued a statement appointing Phillip Duffy and David Whitehouse of Duff & Phelps Ltd, Manchester as administrators in a move that follows “a decade of strong support for Bosal UK from its owners in the face of a mix of factors which over time increasingly impacted on its viability”. The pressures on the company are said to have been three-fold – a “fundamental transformation” of the sector; moves by competitors to “right size” and legal action by former employees. According to the statement, “A fundamental transformation in both the UK and Europe of the automotive aftermarket [has taken place]. In particular, the introduction of stainless steel has seriously impacted on Bosal UK’s key product line – largely the replacement car exhaust systems. The fitment by vehicle makers of longer-lasting original equipment systems has done much to reduce demands for these products.” The happened at the same time as “Moves by Bosal UK’s key competitors to implement ‘rightsizing’ restructuring measures as well as switching production to best cost country sources in Eastern Europe and elsewhere” drastically rewrote the competitive environment. And finally the long running legal challenge to Bosal UK by a group of 48 former employees claiming that they should benefit from an enhanced redundancy package negotiated more than 8 years ago has also taken its toll. On this note the administrators report that Bosal UK has appealed against a court judgement but has failed to overturn the original ruling, with potentially multi million pound consequences for the company in relation to a liability to both this group of former employees and potentially to its remaining employees. “Given all of these factors the directors of Bosal UK believe that the company is unable to pay its debts and the future prospects for Bosal UK’s business and for its manufacturing operation near Preston can best be determined by a formal administration process…”, the statement concluded. cja


Falcon then raised activity in export markets, moving to the Midlands to buy a competitor and improve logistics in the 1980s. The Milltek sister brand was born in the 1990s to fulfil the burgeoning demand for high-quality high performance systems for core tuner cars. The well-received UK-manufactured systems helped the firm to excel, operating profitably in domestic and export markets and increasing its staff numbers, property portfolio and dealer network at a steady rate. Millington comments: “We’re delighted to be celebrating this 30th year with the people that have made it possible for us; our wonderful dealers, our brilliant staff, but of course, most importantly, the people that have been good enough to put their hand in their pocket and buy what we have been making for the last three decades. “I genuinely believe that we have got here simply by giving people exactly what they want, manufactured to the very best quality, but at a price that the average enthusiast can afford. It’s what we’ve always done, and going forward, I see no reason to change that ethos. It has made us what we are today. I’m also pleased to still be flying the flag for British manufacturing. It’s a huge part of our brand values and the reason that our exhausts fit, last and perform so well.” The 30th celebrations will last all year and will be an integral part of both brand’s activities throughout 2013. A ’30 years’ logo has been designed and will appear on everything from packaging and point of sale through to advertising, social media and the company’s website itself. akb


Milltek and Falcon are promoting the brands after 30 years of UKbased manufacturing



GfK: UK 4x4 market depressed, but V-Z speed sizes grow

The make-up of the European SUV segment continues to require faster speed ratings and larger sizes from tyre suppliers

UK trends reflected Europe-wide; demand for high-powered, road-going SUV tyres increases while traditionally strong segments slide ANYONE AWARE OF THE CONTINUED ECONOMIC FUG across the continent might have expected the news that UK and Europe-wide 4x4/SUV tyre markets were depressed in 2012; what you may not have so readily expected was that the macro-trend of increasing sales of V, W, X and Y speed rated SUV tyres would have continued to grow. Yet the latest data from UK market researcher GfK, read in the context of Europool and ETRMA figures, shows that this is exactly what happened during the last year, with more powerful road oriented models continuing to prove popular.

D 30

ETRMA figures show sales of 4x4 tyres were slightly down in 2012, though still around a third more than in 2006. The summer 4x4 market was around 9 million, down from 9.5 million in 2011 while the winter market is at 5.5 million compared to 6.2 million. Runflats also account for 0.5 million tyres. The most popular sizes in Europe include the H-rated 215/65R16 and 235/60R16, the V-rated 235/65R17 and 235/60R18, and 255/50R19 and 255/55R18 in the WYZ segment.

During its latest analysis of the UK 4x4 tyre market, Continental explained that the segment continues to shift to sizes 17” and above. Stagnating registrations have not prevented the pool of 4x4 vehicles primarily for on-road use from growing, and these SUVs, fitted with large alloy wheels, have helped tyres designed for transmitting the greater torque to the road to continue growing in sales. Conti expects continued growth to be stimulated by the availability of SUV models designed to appeal to new customer segments, such as the Range Rover Evoque, billed as “the most efficient Land Rover ever”. Conti also unveiled what it describes as “the first high volume 22” OE approval”, as it signed an agreement to supply summer and winter tyres to the new Range Rover. In terms of the total European market volume,

GfK’s analysis, gathering sales information between February 2012 and January 2013 directly from retailer’s tills (or “electronic point of sale sys-



Higher speed ratings increase UK market importance


Speed rating evolution in the European SUV/off-road tyre market tems”, if you will), backs up the 2002 … 2007 2008 growth predictions WYZ % 0.7 8.1 9.9 for the “road tyres” V% 2.9 14.2 15.2 with speed indexes H% 28.7 33.6 34.2 of V and WYZ. T% 20.2 14.2 13.6 Referring to sales <=S % 47.5 15.2 13.4 units only, “V rated SUV Summer Off-Road % ** 14.7 13.6 tyres representing just over 27 per *Predicted **No data set available cent of the 4x4 Source: ETRMA, Continental Tire Group market was five per cent up on the previous MAT [moving annual total]. WYZ mercial vehicle sales,” finishing at nine tyres representing just over 13 per cent per cent down. of the market grew in sales volumes by 11 per cent.” (It is worth noting that the Budget sales grow but bigger brands researcher’s sample group is made up of still dominate specialist tyre resellers in the UK – i.e. not including dealerships/the VMA chan- In terms of 4x4/SUV segments, GfK nel, service and MOT agents or internet notes that “Premium” brands still pure players.) account for a share just under 58 per The segments, which only around ten cent, while “Value” brands account for years ago covered over 90 per cent of the around a quarter. “4x4 sales historically total European SUV/4x4 market, showed were and continue to be primarily compodeclines well into double figures in this sed of premium brand tyres,” GfK says. MAT compared to the equivalent “Most 4x4 drivers will have experienced February 2010 – January 2011 period. GfK a premium brand recommendation when research shows that sales of H-rated buying tyres.” 4x4 tyre retailers also contyres – still the most popular single seg- tinue to recommend primarily Premium ment of the UK market, with a 34 per brands in this segment, with the original cent share – declined by a whopping 21 equipment brand taking precedence, GfK per cent. The S and T segment also drop- reveals. ped 14 per cent, though they collectively These shares mean that the Premium represent nearly 21 per cent of the mar- segment has lost nearly five per cent ket. In total GfK says that 4x4 sales for share compared to the previous MAT, the latest MAT were “more depressed with unit sales dropping 16 per cent over than passenger car tyres and light com- the last twelve months. The average sell-

2009 11.4 16.3 34.8 14.3 10.6 12.6

2010 12.3 17.5 35.7 13.1 9.3 12.2

2011 12.3 17.5 35.9 11.6 7.7 15

2012* 13.7 20.4 34.5 11 6.1 14.3

out price for a Premium segment tyre, excluding valve, balance and fitting, was £160. In GfK’s Value segment, unit sales dropped nine per cent. It is necessary to give these results some context by pointing out that GfK uses a tripartite structure that only labels lead brands produced by the five largest tyre manufacturers as “Premium”, meaning some names that have been synonymous with this section of the tyre market are filed under the “Value” section. The less controversial Budget segment did record growth of 29 per cent in the MAT, and while this shows a significant jump, these brands still have a comparatively low base at just under 17 per cent of the market. GfK data shows that average prices for a budget brand tyre in the last twelve months increased from just under £80 to around £85. One questions whether these 4x4/SUV tyre unit sales gains can continue to develop for budget brands. On the one hand, the increasing need for greater safety characteristics engendered by the proliferation of higher-powered vehicles, and their drivers’ assumed ability to pay for high-technology products suggests that the segment ought to secure the still-dominant position of the upper pricing tiers. On the other hand, is it possible that the increased focus on costconsciousness in certain SUVs could allow budget products to increase their share further?

As T&A goes to press, Land Rover is displaying its 9-speed automatic version of the Range Rover Evoque





Built for comfort – General Tire’s quiet road tyre Grabber GT launch shows the technological development of a European SUV tyre in 2013 THE CONTINENTAL TIRE GROUP’S GENERAL TIRE brand has launched the successor to its Grabber UHP, with a new SUV tyre in its wide range most equipped to offer on-road performance, at an event in Gran Canaria for around 100 dealers representing 25 European countries. The largest single group amongst these guests was from the brand’s UK distributor, Micheldever Tyre Services and its customers. Visiting the last SEMA show in Las Vegas – “the home of 4x4” according to MTS wholesale director, Alan Baldwin – the wholesaler reported that General has a 4x4 market share into double figures, proving its significance in Europe, despite lacking the original equipment fitments that have come with nearly 100 years of American activity.The availability of General tyres suitable for Land Rover models, which dominate the UK 4x4 market, and the specific market focus of tyres like the Grabber AT have given the brand some notable success in the UK according to MTS marketing manager Amelia Lion – the newly launched Grabber GT taps into a different sort of European market specificity, namely the long-term tendency towards greater on-road per-

Gran Canaria’s winding pristine hill roads showed the great comfort characteristics of the Grabber GT





The island of Gran Canaria proved a particularly suitable location to test the new tyre, considering the segment of the European market into which this tyre is intended to fit. To travel between the sand dunes of the beautiful beachside Circuito Maspalomas and the volcanic island’s mountainous interior, traversing, climbing and descending many steep inclines, drivers encounter pristine tarmac roads. While General has a strong heritage and reputation for offroad performance, long-term European market trends have given the tyremaker the impetus to design the Grabber GT – or “Gran Turismo” – for “100 per cent road use”. Various factors, including the European-isation of the tyre’s development and the launch of the EU tyre label, coalesced to lead General down this path. Amongst the wide-ranging stylistic changes from the Grabber UHP, the R&D project manager for the Grabber GT, Stephan Herbst explained that “competitiveness in labelling” was one of the most important developmental considerations during the tyre’s gestation period. In the works since September 2010, when the requirements for the Grabber GT project were defined, the tyre’s tread pattern under-



went three evolutionary steps, which took it in a radically altered direction to the Grabber UHP. Herbst told Tyres & Accessories: “the tyre is a complete change from the Grabber UHP, which had an open, directional tread… [Its asymmetrical tread] and closed shoulders are designed to improve road comfort and its wear profile.” During product demonstrations, Tyres & Accessories was given the opportunity to see what this means practically.

Grabber GT’s characteristics During the launch of the Grabber GT, dealers were given the opportunity to test the tyre’s road-going characteristics using three vehicles representing a good crosssection of the market at which the 100 per cent road tyre is aimed. On track, the sedately paced Volkswagen Tiguan and its much sportier cousin the Audi Q3 gave a good indication of the tyre’s comfortable ride and more extreme performance characteristics respectively. On Gran Caneria’s roads, the Land Rover Freelander 2 showed off the tyre’s realworld driving characteristics in dry, summery conditions, probably the most striking aspects of which were its quietness and comfort properties. This subjective assessment tallies with the defined requirements Herbst and General Tire EMEA 4x4 product manager, Andre Pager elucidated from predevelopment research. While the Grabber UHP is a top performer in USAbased Tire Rack’s Street/Sport Truck Summer section, achieving slightly improved performance on General’s identified rivals, the Avon Tech ST and Kumho’s Ecsta STX in the website’s Combined Road and Track Ratings, Herbst identified the “number one customer survey complaint” as


noise, with drivers also requesting greater high speed stability. In a comparison with the main competitors during the predevelopment stage – including tyres from Dunlop, Bridgestone and Yokohama in addition to Kumho and Avon; a brand comparison that UK dealers tell T&A is apt from their point of view – General identified the need to “improve objective noise, rolling resistance, even wear and dry handling characteristics” over the UHP, a conclusion additionally informed by the tyre label. Therefore General developed the Grabber GT focusing on high levels of safety on dry and wet roads, precise handling and further improved fuel efficiency and comfort. In reaching the final launch pattern, the tread was changed significantly three times. The first proposal was still directional, but the shoulders were closed as a first step towards reducing the tyre’s road noise. Herbst explains that “the results were that the tyre over-achieved in noise and handling” at too great an expense to its resistance to aquaplaning. In response to this, the second evolution increased the void volume and increased the pitch sequence in the centre of the pattern, while adding sipes. This had the effect of improving aquaplaning performance, but reduced mileage and increased noise again, mainly as a result of too great a void. At this stage, the tyre became a European specialist product, as the American side of the development team was redeployed. Strategically, this swung the tyre towards becoming a 100 per cent road-going tyre; driving habits in Europe allow the tyre to prioritise completely rather than retaining some off-road capabilities required in the North American market. At this point, the largest pattern evolution took place, with General changing the pattern from directional to asymmetrical. Essentially retaining the inside half of the directional tread, a straight rib was added, meaning the outer and central sections were “optimised for handling, mileage and noise”, while the inside section is “optimised for aquaplaning and noise”. Overall, the tyre’s range achieves average tyre label grades of E-C-73dB.



General’s new Grabber GT This noise rating seems on the high side to General, and is a reflection of the external drive-by noise recorded for labelling, rather than the more important subjective noise, or the noise perceived by the driver, in which characteristic General says the Grabber GT “over-achieves”. This lengthy development process gives a good idea of the challenges involved in developing a tyre for the SUV/Crossover segment, in which good road contact is of particular importance, since these vehicles can be as powerful as a sports car, weighing twice as much and having a higher centre of gravity, which makes them inherently more prone to traction loss. The Grabber GT’s asymmetric tread design has large shoulder blocks and 3D sipes for a sturdy tread block structure. The stiff outer tread areas increase precision, while the large number of grip edges in the centre of the tread shortens stopping distances. The tyre’s larger number of tread blocks and grip edges helps to increase the predictability and safety of dry and wet braking performance. Harmonic tread block placing and closed shoulder blocks enhance comfort, while the sturdy block pattern promotes even wear, which gives the tyres a high mileage capability. Finally its closed shoulders create a barrier against the noise generated in the centre of the tyre, reducing noise. Herbst explains that the tyre’s improved subjective noise performance is also “tested across all speeds” and throughout the life of the tyre: “after 25,000km the tyre has much better sub-


jective noise ratings than the UHP.” General explains that these features have led to overall improvements over the tyre’s predecessor, with a seven per cent reduction in rolling resistance, an eight per cent reduction in noise emissions and a three per cent increase in mileage capability. Another clever feature included by General on the Grabber GT is visual wear indicators, helping to promote tyre safety checks. Both wheel alignment and tread depth are tackled: the Visual Alignment Indicator (VAI) is a set of small sipes positioned on either side of the tyre at defined points. Drivers should check these sipes after 1,000km, since uneven wear will be indicated by the sipes on one side of the tyre disappearing. Similarly, an inscription in the central rib of the tyre initially reads “Replacement Tire Monitor“, with letters fading to read “Replace Tire“ when the tread depth reaches 3mm.

A wide range of SUVs

In total the Grabber GT has fitments for 15 of the most popular 2011 SUV registrations, including such models as the Audi Q3, Honda CR-V, Range Rover Evoque and Porsche Cayenne. In terms of the speed profile, the Grabber GT has fitments for the top 13 H segment sizes – and 16 of the top 20 – the top 15 V segment sizes, and at the top end 11 of the top 20 W segment sizes. In addition to the most popular sizes in the on-road SUV segment, such as 215/65R16 H, 235/65R17 V and 255/50R19 W, the Grabber GT also offers less familiar sizes, indicating General’s ambition for the tyre. General says this portfolio represents a step forwards into on-road fitments for a brand noted particularly for its high-quality off-road tyres. Being an asymmetric tyre, the Grabber GT is also designed for visual appeal, which extends to the redesigned sidewall. While the tread signifies road-going sturdiness and superior grip,

R&D project manager, Stephan Herbst talks UK dealers through the development of the General Tire Grabber GT

When the project to replace the Grabber UHP was begun, General Tire planned to provide sizes between 15 and 24 inches with speed ratings S, T, H, V and W covered. This was in 2009, and with the benefit of three and a half years of market development, the launch speed profile has shifted up to the range T-Y. It is not that the tyre has changed its focus, but rather that the market for midsized to heavy-duty SUVs has evolved upwards (see this section for more information on this development). At launch 42 different sizes are available, with 17 of them new.


EMEA 4x4 product manager, Andre Pager presents the comparative patterns of the directional Grabber UHP and the asymmetric Grabber GT

the sidewall includes the dynamic brand logo, an indication of the the tyre’s VAI and wear indicator, the General Tire web URL, as well as mandatory technical information. Overall, the new tyre projects new “ambitions for the brand,” according to Pager. Available in 42 sizes in spring, the General Tire GT “sits nicely in the midrange alongside such brands as Avon and Kumho,” according to the brand’s UK dealers, at the same price point as the Grabber UHP.



Toyo’s SUV, 4x4 range includes 2 HP fitments TOYO HAS A RANGE of SUV/4x4 tyres to cover on and off-road models in the range primarily applications, with two tyres available for the high-powered, road-going SUV class. The Proxes T1 Sport SUV was created specifically for the high load and speed demands of the current crop of ultra-high performance SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Toyo says. The tyre extends the fitment coverage upwards of the longer-established Proxes S/T, whose “double V” tread pattern offers high speed stability and wet weather performance. The Proxes T1 Sport SUV aims to balance motorway stability with precise handling on wet and dry surfaces. Featuring an asymmetric tread pattern more akin to tyres for saloon cars, but with a compound that offers road-holding characteristics and highly effective water dispersal for more powerful, heavier vehicles, the T1 Sport SUV caters to the high UHP end of the market. Toyo’s Open Country H/T joins the two higher performance

suited to highway use. It offers stability and road-going performance to pickup trucks, vans and SUVs, with full depth multi-wave sipes working throughout the tyre’s life. Off-road, Toyo offers the all-terrain Open Country A/T and its more extreme M/T cousin. Both tyres feature open shoulder designs, with the M/T’s scalloped shoulder blocks bite Toyo’s Open Country M/T off-road tyre into surfaces, ejecting mud, snow, and rocks to maintaining off-road traction. Toyo says the tyre’s hook shaped blocks and tread design also offer surprisingly civilised and stable road manners. akb

Maxxis M8060 Trepador Competition a success at Autosport Maxxis launched its latest 4x4 product, the Trepador Competition at Autosport 2013. The tyre, designed to improve control on difficult terrain, has a multi-stage staggered shoulder pattern and nylon belt reinforced construction, and is designed to offer dealers the possibility of good margins. Maxxis invited specialist 4x4 tyre dealer Jerry Hunt of SETYRES in Portsmouth to join the manufacturer, and he declared himself impressed with the brand and new product. “Maxxis have a great 4x4 offering in terms of product quality and value for money. The launch of the new Maxxis Trepador Competition range at Autosport, along with the pull of the motorsport affiliations and the Maxxis Babes meant there were plenty of potential customers and I shifted over 20 tyres on the spot… After a very successful 2012 supplying Maxxis Tyres to some of the top UK and European 4x4 teams, I am very much looking forward to a great 2013.” UK managing director, Derek McMartin said the brand would continue to seek improvements to its 4x4 range: “With advances in the technology going into our products, a concept that we call ‘Orange Engineering’ underpins all that we do. Our range of 4x4 tyres is constantly being improved.” Maxxis has a wide range of products for on- and off-road 4x4 applications. akb

Maxxis launches its new M8060 Trepador Competition tyre



Yokohama 4x4 tyre range helps drivers go far Yokohama has a wide range of 4x4 tyres in the aftermarket, with recent original equipment deals testament to the brand’s on and off-road credentials. The Advan ST ‘MO’ is an OE fitment for Mercedes-Benz and the 2013 Toyota Rav4 sports the new Geolandar G91AV pattern as original equipment. The Geolander range encompasses a primarily road-going model, the Geolandar SUV, which stresses comfort and safety, while sporting the BluEarth logo signifying environmentally friendly technologies. The Geolandar H/T-S for full-size SUVs and 4x4s can cope with light off-road use, while the I/T+ model has the snowflake/3 peak logo for severe snow conditions. Two more on-road tyres are the Advan ST and the Parada SpecX; the ST deriving from Yokohama’s Advan Sport tyre for car-like grip and response, while the Parada SpecX is available in a range of non-traditional sizes up to 26”, designed for the SUV tuner market. Off-road, Yokohama offers the Geolandar A/T-S all-terrain tyre and the M/T+, its flagship off-road tyre. The M/T+ features large tread blocks to create traction in the worst off-road conditions with a high-strength construction. akb



Cooper Zeon LTZ and Discoverer S/T MAXX boost KRT 4x4 range

Cooper has built a reputation on tyres such as the Discoverer STT


Cooper Tire’s 4x4 range, available exclusively from wholesaler Kings Road Tyres in the UK, has been extended with the introduction of the Zeon LTZ and two new Discoverer models, the S/T MAXX and A/T3. All three tyres are off-road ready, with the Zeon LTZ offering the most all-round performance. KRT has worked with Cooper for more than 10 years, and purchasing and marketing manager, Tim Bader predicts that the new options could make a big impact,

creating “a real buzz among stockists and end users”. The Zeon LTZ performs as a hybrid between sport truck and all-terrain applications, with improved road handling and ride characteristics. The Discoverer S/T MAXX features Cooper’s durable ArmorTek3 construction, which increases sidewall and tread strength. The tyre’s ply construction helps to absorb and disperse impact forces that could otherwise cause damage when travelling in harsh off-road conditions. Matt Fairman at Red 5 Offroad – a 4x4 driver training and offroad experience centre – tips the Discoverer S/T MAXX for use in sandier conditions: “The Discoverer S/T MAXX performs brilliantly – it’s as good a tyre as the Discoverer STT and even better in the sand.” This is high praise indeed, since the STT was used by the Race2Recovery team at the Dakar

Rally 2013 (see T&A February). The S/T MAXX is available in eight 16-18” sizes. The new Discoverer A/T3 has a highsilica tread to increase longevity, wet traction and cutting resistance. Rated as a 60 per cent on-road tyre, Cooper revealed that the A/T3 will cover 16,500 road miles over 153 days in a fundraising challenge later in 2013. It is available in 30 SUV sizes and 32 light truck sizes ranging from 15 to 20 inch rim diameters. “4x4 dealers like the fact that Cooper produces a complete range of products that cover specialist ranges of tyres for heavy-duty off-roading through to top-end Sports Utility Vehicle applications, where the emphasis is more on ride comfort and on-road performance,” adds Tim Bader. akb

Cooper’s new Discoverer A/T3

Pirelli responding to Crossover growth PIRELLI

HAS IDENTIFIED the popularity of what it calls “crossover utility vehicles” (CUV), which continued to grow in popularity over the past year. The more compact SUV has begun to bring new motorists to the segment, with both the safety and comfort of its larger cousins, but also the promise of improved fuel economy. Pirelli’s Scorpion Verde in particular has provided an option within its range to motorists attracted to a more efficient SUV, designed as a low rolling resistance 4x4 tyre. Pirelli notes that amidst relatively mild winters, there has been “an explosion” of models in this niche, exemplified by the BMW X6, which the tyre manufacturer describes as “part 4x4, part sports coupe”, and the oft-mentioned Range Rover Evoque. Exemplifying its positioning in this segment, the Italian manufacturer supplies original equipment tyres to the Range Rover Sport, Evoque and Porsche Cayenne.


Pirelli’s Scorpion Verde All Season is also manufactured from materials it says diminishes the “environmental impact” of the tyre. Pirelli also says the Scorpion Verde represents its best answer to the needs of tyre labelling. Its size range also reflects the more popular, larger sizes. During the cooler months, the Scorpion Winter has been designed to fit crossovers and SUVs, but with a special focus on the high-end segment. According to last year’s TÜV SÜD Automotive Report, Pirelli’s Scorpion Winter tyre was rated highest against its competitors in terms of braking, handling and traction in snow conditions. akb


Pirelli’s Scorpion Verde was designed to meet the needs of drivers converted to SUVs by more compact, fuel efficient models


page 49.indd 1

06/11/2012 14:16


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Southam Tyres adds Falken 4x4 tyre to range Micheldever’s 4x4 tyre specialist distributor Southam Tyres has announced that it will add the Falken WildPeak WP/AT01 all-terrain tyre to its range. Falken Tyres UK director, Matt Smith says: “Falken will be adding more size ranges for the UK replacement market in order to meet the demand for performance 4x4 and SUV tyres.” Falken’s Wildpeak WP/AT01 met the design challenge of providing both a safe, controlled and comfortable ride on-road and a stable performance on rugged off-road terrain. It has a hard bead apex and jointless nylon band to stiffen sidewalls, minimising the wallowing effect that can lead to greater steering input that ultimately upsets the car balance. The tyre has four multi-angled grooves designed to divert large amounts of mud and snow from the tread, reducing clogging and increasing traction. It uses larger circumferential voids typical of offroad specialists to aid off camber traverses. On the road, phase-shifted tread bars reduce noise at highFalken’s WildPeak speed, a key need of modern 4x4 WP/AT01 all-terrain drivers. tyre The brand’s more specialist SUV tyre, the Azensis FK453CC is available in 14 sizes, for models between the BMW X3 and the Mercedes ML.. To deliver the stability, higher speed requirements and increased loading experienced with sportier SUVs, the Azenis FK453CC features a more warp-resistant casing construction. The tyre incorporates an additional, nylon-reinforced cover ply and more rigid sidewalls to improve stability at speeds up to 300km/h (186mph). A rounder tyre shoulder shape optimises pressure distribution across the tread, resulting in a 21 per cent improvement in steering stability, according to Falken. “Thanks to the rounder shoulder and phase-shifted tread bars, pass-by noise is reduced by 15 percent compared with the tyre’s predecessor,” adds Yukio Yoshida, Falken Tyre Europe’s corporate planning director. The size range now includes 255/55R19 and 275/40R20. akb


Stapleton’s Private Brands Helps Retailers Offer More 4 x 4 Noting the present wide ranging diversity of fitments in the current 4x4/SUV market, Stapleton’s notes that the opportunities open to the retailer present a challenge in requiring a wide breadth of stock to meet increasingly specialised demand. While retailers can expect the usual range of premium brand tyres in this segment from the wholesaler, it says there has been a particular focus in this segment on providing a variety of lower-priced private brands. “[We’ve] been working particularly hard over the last couple of years on the development of our exclusive range of private brands,” says Stapleton’s head of general wholesale, Nigel O’Hara. “Names such as Matador, Nexen, and, most recently, Maxxis all have their own special fortés and market niches but together they also mean we offer the retailers – and their customers – more choice and even better value for money.” As discussed elsewhere, Maxxis has a very wide range of 4x4/SUV fitments, including the UHP Marauder MAS1 and MAS2 for modern high performance SUVs, the AT771 Bravo all-terrain tyre, through to off-road specialists like the new MT764 Big Horn. These are joined by new competition tyre the M8060 Trepador Competition and the M8090 Creepy Crawly with its square-profile sidewall. Continental brand, Matador supplies a range of 4x4 products through Stapleton’s, such as the MP71 Izzarda – particularly suited to dusty and gravel surfaces – and the MP85 Hectorra UHP road tyre. Nexen’s comprehensive Roadian 4x4 range is available in 60 sizes for every 4x4 challenge. It includes the ATII allrounder, with its multi-wave kerf design and deep zigzag grooves; the MT, with deep-cut zigzag shoulder blocks; and at the other end of the spectrum, the HP, designed for performance SUVs. akb


Nexen’s Roadian HP tyre is one of many lower-priced SUV/4x4 products offered exclusively by Stapleton’s


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10/07/2012 13:23


GT Radial improving 4x4 performance across range THE GT RADIAL

BRAND currently contains three tyres to cover the range of 4x4 applications – the Adventuro M/T, Adventuro A/T and Savero HT Plus. Manufactured by GiTi Tire, the brand says that the current range offers its best performance yet to the segment, with fitments available for the lower and middle ranges of the 4x4/SUV market. The Adventuro M/T is the most aggressive and rugged tyre in the range, with the symmetrical pattern designed to increase off-road traction in the muddiest of terrains. Available in 15” and 16” rims and five sizes, the tyre features a high void ratio and pyramidal shaped tread elements to increase self-cleaning properties and resistance to aquaplaning.

Balanced between road and all-terrain capabilities, the Adventuro A/T was designed specifically for light trucks and SUVs. The special block GT Radial’s Adventuro M/T tread with multiple sipes offers extra off-road traction, while the deep solid blocks and lugs extend tread life. The product comes in three rim sizes - 15”, 16” and 17” - and eight different tyre sizes. The Savero HT Plus for pick-ups, light

Bridgestone Dueler 4x4 range

Kumho extends 4x4 fitments

Bridgestone’s Dueler 4x4 tyre range is designed to meet the various applications of drivers in the segment on and off-road. The Dueler A/T 694, a rugged all-terrain tyre delivering both on and off-road performance is described by Bridgestone as the frontrunner in responding to growing demand among urban drivers seeking robust all-surface tyres. Combining the performance of an off-road tyre with comfort and wet grip capability the tyre is the first of Bridgestone’s 4x4 range to take advantage of its “Shark Skin” wet grip technology, which reduces flow resistance and vehicle hydroplaning, important for rainy road driving. Those looking for a more sporty tyre to meet the demands of increased urban road contact are directed to the Dueler H/P Sport. Responsive to wet road conditions, the tyre is built for driver comfort. As the 4x4 market continues to exhibit a growing desire for luxury and high-tuned performance, Bridgestone positions the H/P Sport for road SUV drivers. Finally, Bridgestone acknowledges the need to strike a closer mid-way point between all-terrain and long-distance driving with the third tyre in the Dueler range, the H/T 689. Designed to build upon the classic abilities of a 4x4 tyre with more emphasis on highway performance, Bridgestone believes the tyre offers “the most refined long-journey performance”, providing a quiet and comfortable ride experience. akb


trucks and SUVs is available in 26 tyre sizes from 215/80R15 to P235/65R18. Designed for all-season comfort and control, the tyre’s modern ‘S’ shape tread pattern offers superior handling and a smooth and quiet ride. akb

Meeting the increasing demands of larger 4x4 tyres, Kumho’s 4x4 tyre range is designed to cover popular Range Rover, Mercedes ML, Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg and BMW X5 models as well as established Land Rover Defender fitments. Its latest ECSTA X3 KL17 line-up for top-of-therange SUVs now includes popular fitments in the 18-22” size range. Kumho says the tyre has been designed to “take leadership” of the UHP market, spearheading a growing selection of technology-driven Kumho products for SUVs. It heads a range including the recently introduced Solus KL21 all-season tyre for on-road use, available in top-selling sizes such as 235/65R17 and 235/60R18, and fitted by Hyundai and Kia to their latest SUV models. Kumho says the tyre has recently received approval for fitment on the new Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Road Venture AT KL78 is the most versatile tyre in the Kumho 4x4 range, for all-terrain conditions, while the MT KL71 edition has a wider footprint for soft surface use. The tyre’s tread is designed to reduce the noise of typical MT tyres. The KL 78’s tread compound stays flexible as temperatures drop. Kumho’s Marshal range also offers four patterns led by the KL17 and KL51. The Matrac X3 KL17 range recently introduced for top line SUVs includes most popular sizes for 1522” rims, including Y speed rated and XL fitments, while the Road Venture APT KL51 all-purpose street touring tyre adds 15-18” fitments, including several V-rated sizes. akb



Michelin UK appoints new agricultural technical manager Gordon Brookes

Gordon Brookes, 53, has returned to Michelin’s agricultural division in Stoke-on-Trent, taking over the role of technical manager for the UK and Republic of Ireland from Laurent Mozziconacci. Brookes started his career in the early 1980s running his own company building racing and rally cars. He joined Michelin in 1987 as a multi-product line sales manager and after six years he moved into the agricultural division, where he spent three years, before progressing into the OE and wholesale side of the agricultural department.


Brookes’ Michelin career then took a change of direction as he joined the truck division in 2006, looking after the tyre requirements of some of the company’s biggest customers, including Eddie Stobart, Gist and Morrisons. For the last five years he has lead the original equipment side of the truck division as OE sales manager, dealing with commercial vehicle manufacturers and importers in the UK. Speaking about his new appointment, Brookes says: “When this opportunity came up, I thought it was too good to miss. I have a long history with Michelin and an extensive background and interest in agriculture specifically.” Brookes’ new role will see him reporting to Mike Lawton, commercial director of Michelin’s agricultural division. He will

Brembo appoints Giorgio Ascanelli as tech head Giorgio Ascanelli has joined Brembo Group as chief technical officer (CTO), heading up the company’s Advanced Research and Technical Development departments. Ascanelli brings substantial motorsports experiance, having begun his career with the mechanical engineering staff of Scuderia Ferrari in 1985 before going on to work for Abarth, Benetton F1 and McLaren F1, before becoming technical director for Maserati Corse in 2002 and then for Scuderia Toro Rosso from 2007 to 2012. With the arrival of Giorgio Ascanelli, the company reports, Brembo aims to give fresh impetus to the company. cja


manage all the technical elements of Michelin’s agricultural product range, dealing with tyres for a wide range of farm machinery from tractors to combine harvesters, and sprayers to telehandlers. Brookes added: “I want to work with customers to show them the advantages of using the latest technology products to lower tyre pressures in the field, which will in turn improve tyre and soil performance, save fuel, and increase yields.” Mozziconacci returns to Clermont-Ferrand in France to take up his new position as Off Road Tyre Specialist within the truck tyre division. cja

Yokohama lists management changes A number of senior management changes were approved at Yokohama Rubber’s board of directors meeting on 14 February. These changes will be formally approved after the company’s general meeting of shareholders on 28 March. Hideto Katsuragawa and Tetsuya Kuze, currently corporate officers, will add the role of company director to their respective duties, as will Hideichi Okada, presently an advisor at NTT Date Institute of Management Consulting, Inc. Current associate corporate officer Masayoshi Daio will become corporate auditor. Moving up through the ranks are Shigeo Komatsu, Toshiyuki Nishida and Takaharu Fushimi, who will go from


being corporate officers to managing corporate officers. Newly-minted Yokohama Rubber corporate officers include Shigeru Nakano, Shigetoshi Kondo and Koichi Tsuruno. Norio Karashima is retiring from his role as director and executive vice-president and will remain with Yokohama as executive advisor. Other retirements include that of corporate auditor Hideo Fujiwara, who will continue as an advisor, and corporate officer Shinichi Suzuki, who will also remain as advisor. sg


Matt Robinson appointed CES (UK) sales director The Board of Directors at CES (UK) has announced the new addition of Matt Robinson in the new position of sales director. CES says his role will include developing the distributor’s sales strategy as the company enters a phase of planned growth, as well as overseeing the company’s large sales team, including business and branch managers. CES (UK) managing director, Steve McCann commented: “After many years of working in senior management positions in the aftermarket, Matt brings a wealth of experience to CES. His drive and commercial expertise will shape our sales approach and help us provide even better value for our customers. The board at CES looks forward to working with him.” Robinson was previously managing director at Valeo and general manager at KYB. On joining CES (UK) he commented: “I’m delighted to have joined such a well-respected player within the UK aftermarket. The next few years promise to be an exciting time for CES and the HgCapital group of companies. I can’t wait to play my part in deliNew CES (UK) sales director, vering our growth plans.” akb Matt Robinson

New Bridgestone Technical Center Europe MD named According to a statement released by Bridgestone Corporation on 18 February, the Bridgestone Technical Center Europe is soon to receive a new managing director. The tyre maker reports that Yutaka Yamaguchi will take on this role, which is currently held by Bridgestone Europe CEO and president Franco Annunziato, on 26 March. Yamaguchi’s appointment was confirmed by Bridgestone’s Board of Directors along with 22 other personnel changes. Amongst the decisions noted by the board was the upcoming retirement of Shoshi Arakawa as chairman of the Board of Directors. At present Arakawa shares this role with Masaaki Tsuya. When he steps down as chairman on 26 March, Arakawa will continue with Bridgestone as an advisor. sg



BKT strengthens European marketing management

New marketing and communication manager Gabriella Usiello and marketing intelligence manager Massimiliano Cusimano

BKT Europe has announced the appointment of Gabriella Usiello to the role of marketing and communication manager. Usiello joined the BKT Europe team in January and brought with her more than ten years of marketing experience, including with a multinational company active in the off-highway and passenger car tyre segments. This experience was instrumental in the decision to select Usiello for the role, the tyre maker notes. In her new position, the marketing and communication manager will engage in strategic marketing and consolidate BKT’s market position with the help of an effective, interconnected communications plan. The Indian off-road tyre specialist’s European operation is headquartered in Seregno, Italy, near the city of Milan and led by managing director Lucia Salmaso. She has received support in the area of marketing and communication from Massimiliano Cusimano, and he has now been promoted to the position of marketing intelligence manager. In his new role within the company, Cusimano will be responsible for the organisation and development of market research and short to medium-term marketing plans aimed at enhancing sales results and identifying new business opportunities. In reporting these two new appointments, BKT also shares that the company is currently enjoying average annual growth of 33 per cent. sg




Goodyear results highlight need of EMEA ‘profit improvement plan’ GOODYEAR HAS REPORTED 2012 annu- per cent from last year to US$1.6 billion. be down approximately 5 per cent. al sales of US$21 billion, down 8 per cent from $22.8 billion a year ago. While sales may reflect strong price/mix performance, which drove revenue per tyre up 8 per cent year-over-year, decreased unit volumes and unfavourable foreign currency translation reduced sales by $1.6 billion and $766 million respectively. The company’s segment operating income of $1.2 billion was down $120 million from last year. The company admitted that, compared to the prior year, the decline in 2012 segment operating income primarily reflects weakness in Europe, partially offset by improvement in North American Tire. Fourth quarter 2012 sales amounted to $5 billion, down 11 per cent from 2011. According to the company, the drop reflects $338 million in lower tyre unit volumes, $221 million in lower sales in other tyre related businesses and $85 million in foreign exchange effects. It is worth pointing out that although tyre unit volumes totalled 40 million, this is generally down 7 per cent compared with 2011. And what’s more Goodyear reported that this primarily reflects lower volumes in Europe. And it has to be said that Goodyear sales in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region were particularly bad with fourth quarter sales decreasing 16

According to the company, the sales Commercial replacement demand is reflect a 15 per cent decrease in tyre unit expected to increase approximately 5 per volume and unfavourable foreign currency cent and original equipment volumes are translation of $48 million. Improved expected to be flat to up 5 per cent. With all this in mind, it is interesting to price/mix was a partial offset. The replacement market bore the brunt of the decline note that, “due to continued weakness in with tyre shipments here down 17 per the European economy and to ensure the cent. However, with original Europe, Middle East and Africa Tire Fourth Quarter Twelve Months equipment unit (in millions) 2012 2011 2012 2011 volumes down 14.2 16.9 62.7 74.3 9 per cent, this Tire Units Sales $1,602 $1,912 $6,884 $8,040 route to mark Segment Operating Income 38 88 252 627 was also hit. Segment Operating Margin 2.4% 4.6% 3.7% 7.8% Fourth quarter segment Source: Goodyear operating income in this division totalled $38 million, long-term competitiveness of the compadown $50 million from a year ago. ny’s operations in the region”, Goodyear is Segment operating income was negative- taking further steps to “return its business ly impacted by $126 million due to lower to historical margin levels.” We all heard unit volume including the impact of unab- about how the company closed its French sorbed overhead from related production agricultural/OTR tyre production facility, cuts. Results were also affected by $6 mil- but with the relative weakness of the lion due to a strike in South Africa. Lower European market in mind, the company raw material costs of $64 million and reports that over the next three years improved price/mix were said to have par- Goodyear is “focusing on increasing its share in targeted market segments, tially softened the blow. According to Goodyear, for the full year growth in emerging markets and an addiin Europe, the consumer replacement tional $75 million to $100 million in proindustry is expected to be flat to up 2 per ductivity improvements across the regicent and consumer original equipment to on.” cja

Michelin beat cashflow projections, but what about profits?


When Michelin reported full-year 2012 free cash flow of 1.075 billion euros, financial analysts responded by describing the results as “a strong beat” compared with consensus expectations. However, questions about profitability (and the company’s continued momentum in this respect) remain a subject of discussion amongst the market watchers. According to Morgan Stanley, Michelin exceeded its expectations and those of the consensus by roughly 600 million euros. Even when you remove the estimated 100 million euros the company generated from the sale of one of its Paris buildings, market analyst community were positively surprised. That said with pre-tax (EBIT) profit margins coming in at 4 per cent, there was less positive feedback about this metric. In


fact Morgan Stanley analysts described this as “light” compared with the consensus of expectations: “…we proved to be too optimistic on profit generation (second half 2012 EBIT was a 13 per cent miss versus Morgan Stanley estimates)…” The explanation for both the “light” profitability and for the slightly off target predictions came down to the fact that Michelin’s light vehicle tyre segment delivered EBIT results 100 million euros lighter than expected. Looking forward, the analysts raised questions about how much of Michelin’s impressive 2012 cash generation was driven by decreasing volumes and favourable raw materials and therefore offers less of a longterm gain. cja




Bridgestone profits up 67%

Bridgestone 2012 tyre figures at a glance

IT TURNS OUT that 2012 was a good year for Bridgestone Asian economic expans-

Net sales: Operating profit: Operating margin:

Corporation. The Japanese tyre and rubber products manufacturer achieved a 66.8 per cent increase in net income during the period, taking in a healthy 171.6 billion yen (£1.18 billion). This jump in profit was achieved despite sales remaining relatively level; these increased 0.5 per cent to 3,039.7 billion yen (£20.94 billion). Operating income rose 49.5 per cent to 285.9 billion yen (£1.97 billion) and operating margin increased from 6.3 per cent to 9.4 per cent. Tyre products are the mainstay of Bridgestone’s business and earned the company net sales of 2,557.2 billion yen (£17.62 billion), slightly above 2011 sales. Operating profit from tyres was 260.4 billion yen (£1.79 billion) and the operating margin 10.2 per cent). The Americas was Bridgestone’s most lucrative region in terms of overall sales (both tyre and non-tyre), increasing 3.28 per cent to 1,330.9 billion yen (£9.17 billion). Unit sales of passenger and light truck tyres in the region remained unchanged compared to fiscal 2011. Total unit sales of tyres for trucks and buses decreased due to a decline in the sales of replacement tyres. Number two region for sales was Japan, where sales dropped 0.8 per cent to 1,218.7 billion yen (£8.40 billion). Unit sales of tyres for passenger cars and light trucks grew firmly compared to fiscal 2011. Total unit sales of tyres for trucks and buses decreased due to a decline in sales of replacement tyres. Sales in Europe (tyre and non-tyre) dropped 15.6 per cent during the year to 348.8 billion yen (£2.40 billion). Unit sales of tyres for passenger cars and light trucks decreased substantially compared to fiscal 2011 due to a decline in the sales of replacement tyres, as well as tyres for trucks and buses. In Asia Pacific, unit sales of passenger cars and light trucks increased substantially compared to fiscal 2011. Total unit sales of tyres for trucks and buses firmly increased from fiscal 2011. In China, unit sales of passenger and light truck tyres decreased, and unit sales of tires for trucks and buses decreased substantially compared to fiscal 2011. In the specialty tyre business, unit sales of large and ultralarge off-the-road radials for construction and mining vehicles increased steadily compared to those of fiscal 2011 due to expansion of production capacity. Referring to the company’s 2012 operating environment, Bridgestone says raw material and feedstock prices, along with the yen, remained high. In the Japanese market demand rose due to rebuilding and rebounding new vehicle sales following the 2011 earthquake, while the US economy seesawed and the European economy continued to suffer from the financial crisis.



2,557.7 billion yen 260.4 billion yen 9.4 per cent

ion showed signs of a slowdown, particularly in China and India. Yet Bridgestone views these global uncertainties as no great obstacle. In its 2012 consolidated financial statement, the tyre maker says it will “pursue the ultimate goal of being the world’s undisputed number one tyre and rubber company both in name and reality.” To this end, Bridgestone intends to “be ‘Dan-Totsu’, or the absolute and clear leader in all our industries and a company that is far outperforming its competitors.” Looking ahead to 2013, Bridgestone projects that demand for original equipment passenger car and truck tyres will remain the same as 2012 in Europe, while replacement passenger car tyre demand will decreased slightly to 99 per cent of the 2012 figure and demand for truck tyres will rise to 104 per cent of last year’s demand. In Japan, passenger car tyre demand is expected to be only 93 per cent of that in 2012 for both the original equipment and replacement segments, while original equipment truck tyre demand should be 101 per cent compared with last year and replacement demand 94 per cent. The company anticipates net sales of 3,550.0 billion yen (£24.46 billion), up 17 per cent year-on-year, operating income of 382.0 billion yen (£2.63 billion), an increase of 34 per cent on 2012, and a 10.8 per cent operating margin. sg

Bridgestone puts $300M price tag on relocated Shenyang plant Further details of the new factory Bridgestone will build in China to replace its Shenyang plant have been announced. Bridgestone (Shenyang) Tire Co., Ltd. found a suitable location for the factory within the Shenyang Chemical Industry Park in late 2012 and the tyre maker now says that, rather than the total investment of US$99.9 million announced on 11 January, the company will invest a total of $299.7 million to build the new truck and bus radial factory, including costs for plant construction and production equipment. The 395,000 square metre facility is expected to enter operation in 2014 and produce 5,000 tyres per day. The decision to relocate the Shenyang plant was made in accordance with Shenyang City development policies, which were revised following an urbanisation plan in the area surrounding the existing Shenyang factory. sg




Hankook achieved record global sales in 2012 HANKOOK HAS REPORTED record sales expanding as well as with steady market recovery in 2013. And this is backed by of 4.97 billion euros (7.029 trillion Korean won) in 2012 financial results, signifying an 8.3 per cent increase year-on-year. The company’s operating profit for the same shot up 57.9 per cent year-on-year to 645.6 million euros (912.9 billion won). According to the company, the increases were due to strong demand for Hankook’s UHP tyres and stronger brand equity. Hankook reported that global UHP sales were up 30.2 per cent year-on-year, while emerging market UHP sales sky rocketed with those in Russia/CIS and Latin America leading the growth, collectively achieving an 86.5 per cent increase year-on-year. There was also significant original equipment (OE) fitment growth. Hankook reports that its OE supply contracts to global premium automakers jumped by 27.6 per cent year-on-year, led by factorysupply of tyres for BMW’s new-1 and -3 Series, the Lincoln MKZ, as well as the Audi, Volkswagen and Chrysler brands. In China, OE fitment contracts to Audi alone more than doubled, registering a year-onyear increase of 156 per cent. “Despite the stagnant global economic situation, we were able to continue our upward growth trend in 2012 by firmly placing our top priority to deliver the highest tyre quality and performance to our customers around the world,” said Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO of Hankook Tire. He added, “We will continue our aggressive investment in R&D and brand equity enhancement in order to strengthen Hankook’s position as a premium brand and proactively pave our way towards becoming the global topfive tyre company by 2014.” In 2013, Hankook Tire aims to overcome the continued unfavourable global economic situation with its proactive market penetration in emerging economies where the automobile market is


supply to advanced countries where the increased production at Hankook’s manureplacement equipment (RE) segment is facturing facilities: “In 2013, Hankook’s rising. global production capacity will be up 7 per cent and ramp-up of the Indonesian plant along with favourable input costs Analysts: 2013 forecasts appear should help the company post high sinconservative gle-digit top- and bottom-line growth,” Hankook’s fourth quarter financial results Deutsche Bank wrote in an investor’s proved to be largely in line with the con- note dated 4 February. Keeping the global perspective, the sensus of analysts’ expectations, however 2013 estimates produced by the company expects replacement and OE tyre demand in company have China to recover in been described as 2013 and is also “conservative.” said to be “aggresFourth quarter sively targeting revenue and operNet sales: 4.97 billion euros emerging marating profit were Operating profit: 645.6 million kets” including down 6 per cent euros those in Russia/CIS and 3 per cent Global UHP sales up 30.2 per cent and South East quarter-on-quarter. year-on-year Asia. According to the When reporting on Hankook is also company, this was due to weak OE tyre demand, deterioration in product mix and worth a glance at the performance of its fewer working days at the Hungary plant. fast-growing domestic OE customers. Nevertheless operating profit margin was Investor research on Hyundai/Kia sug12.8 per cent compared with 12.4 per gests the company’s global shipments cent in the third quarter of 2012, although are up 28 – 24 per cent year-on-year due average selling price was flat. Despite to more working days which came about unfavourable mix and weak demand, because of difference in timing of the operating profit margin was reportedly Lunar New Year, which resulted in 3-4 helped by favourable raw material costs, more working days at plants in Korea and which were down 7 per cent quarter-on- China this year compared with last year. Even generally global sales of Korea’s five quarter. automakers were up 22 per cent year-onyear and 6 per cent month-on-month. De-segmenters opting for Hankook Hyundai/Kia are guiding for global sales What was probably the best news for growth of 6 per cent and 1 per cent Hankook came in the form of confirmati- respectively 2013, which analysts believe on that the company is benefitting from – like with Hankook – are somewhat conthe so-called de-segmentation phenome- servative estimates. cja non. According to Deutsche Bank analysts, the Korean tyre manufacturer gained market share by virtue of “trade down” by EU consumers and was the only tyre maker to see market share growth. The company’s view of global tyre demand was that it was down 4.5 per cent in 2012, but Hankook is amongst the most optimistic, expecting a 3.3 per cent

Hankook 2012 tyre figures at a glance




Despite shaky Q1, Nokian looks forward to 2013 growth During the course of last year Nokian’s Vianor network broke through the 1,000 outlet barrier


“double digits” while the Nordic countries were “relatively healthy.” He added that “challenges” were experienced in Central Europe in 2012, yet despite this Nokian managed to increase full year car tyre sales volumes, improve sales mix, overall ASP and improve its market position. “Our car tyre sales in Russia grew at a triple rate compared to the overall market, further strengthening our market leader position. In the Nordic countries sales came in as planned, we gained winter tyre market share and continue to be a clear market leader.” In the course of 2012 Nokian opened 127 new Vianor outlets, Gran reported, bringing the network total to 1,037. France, Serbia and Bosnia gained a Vianor presence last year; the network now operates in 26 countries. “A continued expansion of our distribution network spearheaded by Vianor, combined with test winning products are cornerstones to our growth,” Gran commented. Regarding Nokian’s new second factory in Russia, built alongside the existing Vsevolozhsk plant, Gran said it “represents the absolute top in automaNet sales increased 10.7 per cent to 1.61 billition, productivity and quality.” He on in 2012, while operating profit rose from added that last year its operation in 380.1 million euros in 2011 to 415.0 million a Russia achieved a six per cent year later. Profit for the reporting period increase in labour productivity and amounted to 330.9 million euros, a year-on- Net sales: 1.61 billion euros 11 per cent rise in production year increase of 7.1 per cent. Earnings per Operating profit: 415 million euros despite a harsh market environshare increased from 2.39 euros to 2.52 euros. Vianor outlets: 1037 ment. “With the new factory up Cash flow from operations was 262.3 million euros, more than double that of a year earlier, and Nokian’s and running we have presently an inbuilt capability to increase Board of Directors has proposed a dividend of 1.45 euros per output rapidly without capex to meet market growth and further to increase output by 50 per cent by adding lines in Russia,” share. “In 2012 Nokian Tyres performed well in a challenging envi- he continued. Gran did not broach the issue of job cuts at the ronment and recorded all time high sales and profits combined tyre maker’s Nokia, Finland plant in the financial statement bulwith excellent cash flow. Our market position improved in core letin released by Nokian Tyres on 6 February. As already mentioned, Nokian is looking forward to market areas, the company is debt free and we are able to develop our business further from a healthy position,” commented Kim growth this year, with sales in the core Russian and Nordic marGran, president and CEO of Nokian Tyres. “We got a flying start kets expected to increase. “We are looking into 2013 with conto the year 2012 sales and were running full utilisation of our fidence. After a slow start for the year in quarter one we expect capacities in the first half. The weak economic situation in the market to present us with some growth opportunities,” said Central Europe combined with high carry-over inventories in Gran. “With overwhelming test wins in 2012, the newly laundistribution resulted however in a dramatic drop in demand in ched next generation of Hakkapeliitta winter tyres and test winCentral Europe. Also our sales were hit and growth in Central ner summer tyres, our product offering will be by far the best Europe stalled during quarters three and four. Due to decisive we have ever had. Vianor is to be expanded again by more than and rapid changes in production, allocating a higher share of 100 shops and our market geography in Russia and Northern production and sales to Russia and support from reduced costs Europe is looking comparatively healthy offering us a good base for profitable business.” we managed to end the year with reasonably good results.” sg Gran stated that the Russian tyre market continued to grow

and profit in 2012, Finland’s Nokian Tyres shared its projection for replacement market growth this year in its main markets. Nokian anticipates demand for replacement passenger car tyres will grow one to two per cent in Europe, two per cent in Nordic countries and two to five per cent in Russia. Admittedly, the tyre maker concedes the pricing environment for all tyre categories will be “challenging” this year, although margins will be supported by a ten per cent year-on-year easing in raw material costs in the first quarter of 2013 and a four per cent easing over the entire year. Although Nokian expects to see growth in net sales and operating profit in 2013, it believes that first quarter performance will be “clearly weaker” than in 2012. REPORTING INCREASED SALES

Nokian 2012 tyre figures at a glance




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Toyo 2012 tyre figures at a glance

Toyo sales & profits up, further growth expected in 2013

Net sales: Operating income: Tyre profit margin:

228,744 million yen (up 4.2 per cent) 13,014 million yen 5.7 per cent

TOYO TIRE & RUBBER CO. LTD. has published its consoli- period was 13,645 million yen (£93.6 million), a rise of 51.2 per dated business results for the 2012 financial year – a cent on a synchronised basis, while net income stood at 13,218 shortened, nine-month period owing to the Japanese million yen (£90.6 million). From this total, Toyo’s Tire business unit posted net sales of firm’s changeover to a January to December fiscal year 228,744 million yen (£1.6 billion), up 4.42 per cent year-on-year in 2012.

on a synchronised basis, and operating income of 13,014 million yen (£89.2 million), which using the same measure increaDuring the period between 1 April and 31 December 2012, Toyo sed 30.9 per cent. Tire profit margins rose from 4.5 per cent to Tire & Rubber achieved consolidated net sales of 291,110 milli- 5.7 per cent. on yen (£2.0 billion), almost exactly the projected figure given The company’s current outlook for the 2013 financial year – on 9 November 2012. On a synchronised basis, looking at 2011 results from April to December for Toyo’s companies in Japan this time a 12 month reporting period – is for net sales of and January to December for its overseas companies, this 2012 360,000 million yen (£2.5 billion), operating income of 22,000 sales figure represents a year-on-year sales increase of 3.97 per million yen (£150.9 million) and a margin of 6.1 per cent, ordinacent. Actual 2011 sales, calculated from 1 April to 31 March, ry income of 19,000 million yen (£130.3 million) and net income were 320,569 million yen. Operating income for April – of 12,000 million yen. Projected 2013 sales for the Tire business December 2012 came to 15,650 million yen (£107.3 million), just unit stand at 284,100 million yen (£1.9 billion), while an operaa touch higher than the 9 November projection and up 30.7 per ting income of 18,800 million yen (£128.9 million) and an operacent on a synchronised basis. Operating margin rose from 4.3 ting margin of 6.5 per cent are expected. sg per cent to 5.4 per cent. Ordinary income for the 2012 reporting


Yokohama enjoys a record 2012 Last year was a new high water mark for Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., with the 2012 fiscal year delivering record net sales, operating income and net income. The company says these results reflect the strong growth of original equipment sales to Japanese vehicle manufacturers, a business recovery in industrial products, success in securing market acceptance for price increases, a decline in raw material costs, continuing progress in reducing costs, and the weakening of the yen toward the end of the year. The 2012 fiscal year was Yokohama’s first 12-month fiscal period since the company shifted to calendar-year accounting in 2011, from April-to-March accounting. For this reason, Yokohama Rubber states that formal year-on-year comparisons are impossible. Instead, the percentage changes it gives refer to arbitrary, 12month sums of the figures for January to March 2011 (the fourth quarter of the fiscal year ended March 2011) and April to


December 2011 (the irregular, nine-month fiscal term that resulted from the shift in fiscal accounting periods). Using this means of calculation, Yokohama states that its net income increased 187.3 per cent over the previous year to 32.6 billion yen (£223.6 million), on an 85.7 per cent increase in operating income, to 49.7 billion yen (£340.8 million), and a 0.3 per cent increase in net sales, to 559.7 billion yen (£3.8 billion). With these results, Yokohama bettered its projections of 30.0 billion yen for net income and 49.0 billion yen for operating income, though the total for net sales was lower than the company’s projection of 576.0 billion yen. Yokohama management intends to increase the annual dividend by two yen above the amount announced in November 2012, to 20 yen - an interim dividend of eight yen and a year-end dividend of 12 yen. In Yokohama’s tyre operations, operating income increased 91.9 per cent to


Yokohama 2012 tyre figures at a glance Net sales: Operating income:

444.6 billion yen 43.4 billion yen

43.4 billion yen (£297.6 million), despite a 0.6 per cent decline in sales, to 444.6 billion yen (£3.0 billion). Sales to vehicle manufacturers in Japan increased strongly, as noted above; sales in Japan’s replacement market were described as solid, led by winter tyre sales; and success in securing market acceptance for price increases partly offset a decline in demand in overseas markets. Yokohama’s fiscal projections for 2013 call for another year of record sales and earnings. The company projects that net income will reach 36.0 billion yen (£246.9 million) on operating income of 59.0 billion yen (£404.6 million) and net sales of 630.0 billion yen (£4.3 billion). sg



Freight costs stabilising after volatile 2012 THE

COST OF MOVING TYRES and wheels between Asia and major European markets such as the UK should stabilise in 2013 after the wild fluctuations of 2012, according to the CEO of Suffolk based freight forwarding company Maritime Cargo Services, Rob Shelley. As shippers and shipping lines battled hard on this trade route in particular the cost of moving containers varied greatly over the course of the year, “making costing and budgeting in the tyre industry somewhat challenging,” Shelley says. As fewer goods were imported under economic austerity measures towards the end of 2012, shipping lines reduced capacity accordingly. But with global trade expected to creep upwards again in 2013, Shelley expects shipping rates to rise moderately as shippers control their expansion.


Maersk, the world’s biggest carrier, “turned a $600 million loss in Q1 2012 into a profit of half a billion dollars by Q3,” Shelley explains, illustrating the widely fluctuating state of the industry. “But… by the final quarter of the year, continuing austerity drives across Europe forced the shipping lines to once again fight for market share. Facing the prospect of mothballing monster container ships, the carriers opted instead to simply cut or cancel scheduled shipping voyages in an attempt to restore rates by reducing capacity. The initial signs suggest that the strategy has worked with Asia to North Europe rates climbing comfortably back again. “But are cheap rates all that tyre importers and shippers are looking for? Although we all have an immediate need for cost savings and ‘value for money’, most importers would agree that one of the biggest issues in not just the cost but the rollercoaster nature of freight rates which make planning and managing your business so much more complex. “With overall global trade (not just tyres) expected to expand by four-six per


cent in 2013, and the shipping lines keeping capacity under control, experts are predicting a modest rises in freight rates during the year and, hopefully, not the variance we have seen in 2012. “But, without a doubt, the shipping lines’ operating costs are going to go up and, with little additional revenue coming in, they will have to absorb the costs of more expensive fuel, more costly labour and dearer raw materials on the back of stagnant or declining freight income.”

Slow steaming “beginning to benefit” shippers The process of “slow steaming” – using slower container ship speeds to reduce fuel consumption greatly – is claimed by some to benefit everyone in the supply chain, although, as Shelley points out, “shippers are the potential supply chain losers. European importers of Asian goods, for example, face an additional week at sea for their stock with the subsequent added inventory costs, interest, insurance, depreciation and so on. “However, some major shippers in


the FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods] and retail sectors are now saying that, with foresight and astute planning, they are beginning to benefit from slow steaming claiming that increased passage times have improved schedule reliability and, therefore, aided planning and costing.” Maersk has exemplified this outlook, claiming that its customers are looking at stability and reliability as much as speed as a determining factor when designing their supply chains. Its customers, the shipper says, “are realising monetary benefits” as a result of reliability and frequency of service, “even in a slow steaming scenario”. With shipping costs estimated to make up as much as 10 per cent of the retail price of tyres, Shelley emphasises the role of freight forwarders in making shipping product a smoother proposition. Specialising in the tyre industry and looking after more than 20 major tyre importers, MCS manages the Customs Clearance and delivery of containers to well over a hundred tyre warehouses and depots throughout the UK and Ireland. akb



Global truck sales to grow ‘moderately’ in 2013 Despite a dip in the overall market last year, some analysts are predicting that global heavy and medium truck sales will increase “moderately” in 2013 owing to rising demand from so-called Next-11 countries and other emerging markets. The report by Frost & Sullivan forecasts that the combined GDP of key commercial vehicle markets will grow at 3 to 3.5 per cent in 2013. This is expected to stoke medium-heavy truck sales growth at the rate of 4.3 per cent in 2013. Furthermore, the slowdown in Europe and moderate expansion in truck demand in North America will be largely offset by robust growth in Next-11 and other Rest of World (RoW) markets, resulting in global medium-heavy truck sales reaching 2.8 million this year. The research finds that platformbased truck production and advanced technology integration encompassing powertrain, safety, telematics, and cabin design areas will experience significant growth in 2013. This year, an expected 1 in 5 heavy-duty trucks sold globally will feature platform based lineage. The global market for low-cost trucks too is expected to continue strong growth with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6 per cent over the 2009 to 2017 period. “Although the economy is expected


to improve, there is cautious optimism amongst commercial vehicle OEMs in the TRIAD markets of North America, Europe and Japan,” says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Bharani Lakshminarasimhan. “The research revealed that many of these OEMs will not only continue to focus greater efforts on the growing markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC), but also expand to the Next-11 and African markets, while introducing groundbreaking technologies in their home markets.” Several Next-11 markets are likely to post nearly double-digit growth in new truck sales in 2013. Of these, Indonesia and Turkey are forecast to double in size from 2012 to 2020, while Mexico is also set for long-term growth. Additionally, within the BRIC markets, Russia will sustain the fast growth that was seen in 2012. The net resultant of these trends will be a higher demand for medium-duty trucks relative to heavy-duty trucks.

Market still facing headwinds However, according to the research, the global medium-heavy truck market will continue facing strong headwinds, as Western Europe experiences considerable decline in new truck sales and volatile energy prices, keeping consumers in

many parts of the world from buying new equipment. Moreover, the lack of significant “critical mass” in terms of sales volumes, despite strong growth rates in many markets such as Africa, will challenge OEMs in TRIAD markets in investing heavily to create solid business cases for several Next-11 and RoW markets. With that said, Chinese and Indian OEMs are expected to continue thriving in many of these non-BRIC developing markets. The next frontier for commercial vehicles, though, includes an increase in advanced technologies, creating the foundation for the next generation of smarter commercial vehicles, particularly within North America, Europe and AsiaPacific. Of these markets, OEMs in North America and Europe will put their focus on “soft technologies,” such as telematics, cabin design and safety technologies, while Asian OEMS will put a greater emphasis on creating powertrain technologies that are governmental regulation compliant and have fuel-efficiency. “Overall advanced technologies, such as natural gas powertrain, integrated safety technologies, health, wellness and well being enablers, and connectivity technologies are expected to receive a major boost globally,” concludes Mr. Lakshminarasimhan. cja

Road traffic volume down slightly in 2012 THE DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT has released statistics relating to road traffic in Great Britain in the fourth quarter of last year and for 2012 as a whole. Over the year, the volume of all motor vehicle traffic fell by 0.4 per cent to 302.6 billion vehicle miles. Cars accounted for 79.4 per cent of all motor vehicle traffic, which is broadly the same proportion as in recent years. Comparing the fourth quarter with Q4 2011, the volume of all motor vehicle traffic rose slightly, by 0.4 per cent to 76.7 billion vehicle miles. The biggest growth was in the light goods vehicle sector, where traffic volume was up by 3.2 per cent to 10.8 billion vehicle miles. By contrast, heavy goods vehicle traffic decreased by 1.9 per cent to 3.8 billion vehicle miles. The DfT says that a number of factors may affect traffic volumes. For example, traffic levels would normally be


expected to change in line with economic growth. When comparing changes between Q4 2011 and Q4 2012: GDP was broadly flat whilst there was a small increase in traffic volume. Traffic levels are influenced by some sectors more than others and whilst there was a decrease in production (-2.4 per cent), there were increases in distribution (1.7 per cent) and transport (0.4 per cent) which could have contributed towards the small increase in traffic. In the past extreme weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall in quarter four of 2010 have dampened traffic volumes. Flooding and heavy rainfall in some areas of Great Britain in Q4 2012 does not appear to have had an effect on traffic volume at a national level. pg




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The ADCO group – its role in label enforcement During this year’s Tire Technology Expo in Cologne, Germany, ETRMA secretary general Fazilet Cinaralp shared some information on the subject of the European tyre label and its enforcement. “As the label uses a system of self regulation and self declaration, there is a need for regular ex-post controls at point of sales,” she commented. “For this reason, in June 2012 the European Union created a committee solely responsible for tyre labelling.” This committee is the Expert Group on Tyres Labelling - Market Surveillance Administrative Cooperation, or Tyres Labelling ADCO for short. The committee is made up of the national authorities responsible for label enforcement in each of the 27 countries that have adopted it; the Department for Transport represents the UK. The committee first meet on 7 September 2012 and is expected to meet every six months. The next meeting is planned for April. “What is the mission of this group?” was the question Cinaralp posed. “It is responsible for optimising the implementation of Regulation (EC) 1222/2009 and for harmonising through the exchange of experience the various national surveillance practices across the European economic area for all the products that are covered by this regulation. The committee should cooperate in the testing of products – they don’t want to see the same product tested three or four times when a product can be tested once and the information shared – and discuss any matter related to market surveillance practices.” sg


ETRMA welcomes EC package THE EUROPEAN Tyre & Rubber tyres checked were non-compliant with Manufacturers’ Association has welcomed the European Commission’s publication of the Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package, its proposed new rules to improve the safety of consumer products circulating in the EU and to step-up market surveillance concerning all non-food products, including those imported from outside the region.

In a statement, the association wrote that “ETRMA has since long asked for a solid market surveillance system that would put on an equal footing all competitors in Europe, not only to protect consumers from illegal and unsafe products, but also to protect those companies that are heavily investing in compliance with EU regulations. This need was also recognised by the High Level Group of CARS 21, which voiced the concerns of the European automotive industry to protect its competitiveness.” The package includes two Regulations: one on Consumer Products Safety and one on Market Surveillance for Products. It also includes a Communication on Safer and compliant products for Europe, which sets out a multi-annual plan for market surveillance. Finally, it includes a report on the implementation of Regulation 765/2008. The proposed text for a Regulation on Market Surveillance includes clear obligations for the Market Surveillance Authorities of the Member States. These are aimed not only at ensuring the safety of the products, but also checking that they comply with EU Regulations. “This is particularly important for the tyre industry as recent testing campaign showed that about ten per cent of all


REACH regulations on PAHs content. Other campaigns showed that 20 per cent of checked motorcycles were fitted with non homologated tyres,” the ETRMA statement continued. According to the ETRMA, these two examples alone make the need for proper market surveillance particularly urgent as well as show the need to involve the industry in carrying out compliance tests. The manufacturers’ association says it also “strongly supports” other initiatives included in the package such as the establishment European Market Surveillance Forum to share information and run operations and the possibility for Market Surveillance Authorities to charge fines on non-compliant economic operators. Furthermore, the ETRMA welcomes the wish to allocate more financial support to existing informal cooperation groups (ADCOs), like the one recently created for tyre labelling. “The Regulation on Market Surveillance takes the first necessary steps to make sure that game changing Regulations are respected by all players on the European market,” shared ETRMA secretary general Fazilet Cinaralp. “It is now our hope that the European Institutions will move fast on turning into legislation the 20 Actions for safer and compliant products for Europe and particularly those concerning products entering the EU. Today, the EU industry’s competitiveness is increasingly being undermined due to market distortion arising when non-compliant products are placed on the EU market.” The ETRMA statement concluded with the opinion that “the tyre sector is one of the most heavily regulated in Europe and all players in Europe should be bound to respect these rules to ensure a level playing field for the industry and safety for European consumers.” sg



Cooper to raise brand awareness through ‘consumer lifestyle’ campaign Generation Y is square in Cooper Tire Europe’s sights following variety of suitable brand partnership opportunities that will also an overhaul of the company’s marketing strategy for the region. place the brand at the forefront of its target market. sg The tyre maker reports undergoing a major shift in emphasis towards increasing brand awareness among the 18 to 35-year-old male demographic. Cooper is already well known for its 4x4 tyres but is now commencing a sales and marketing strategy for its ultra-high performance passenger car ranges in Europe, which will include the company’s first-ever European consumer lifestyle advertising campaign. The marketing plan will complement Cooper’s existing presence in European motorsport – also a crucial hook for the targeted UHP market. Since 2009, Cooper has been title sponsor and sole supplier for the British Formula 3 Championship, recognised as one of the toughest domestic single-seater series in the world and a key feeder for Formula One. It is also a dominant player in the FIA European Rallycross Championship. Alongside Cooper’s traditional consumer marketing spend, it is also launching a series of placements on the inside back cover of men’s lifestyle magazine, FHM. The campaign – which will run throughout 2013 – will capitalise on Cooper’s international motorsport presence, with adverts reflecting the drama and power of the European Rallycross series and nods towards the tuning scene popular with young males. To supplement this planned advertising campaign, Cooper is also pursuing a




Michelin official tyre for Le Mans LMPC and GTC MICHELIN HAS OPENED its 2013 track-based motorsport season by putting ink to new endurance tyre supply contracts. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the organisation behind the 24 Hours of Le Mans race and other Le Mans series, and Le Mans Endurance Management (LMEM), selected Michelin as official tyre supplier for the LMPC and GTC classes in the 2013 European Le Mans Series, while BMW Motorsport will contest the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and the Nürburgring 24 Hours on Michelin rubber. The Michelin Ranking Tower will be prominently visible on the main straight



LMPC will use the Michelin S9H tyre as it is the specification successfully used within the category in previous seasons. The S9H has shown a large working window, high performance and durability, with good consistency of performance and balance. BMW Motorsport’s BMW Z4 GTE and BMW Z4 GT3 cars will run on Michelin ‘Ultimate’ endurance racing tyres. LMEM’s GTC class will be limited to three sets of slick tyres for each of the five race weekends and each set will be marked either A, B or C. Each set will be assigned to a session – ‘A’ to Free Practice 1, ‘B’ to Free Practice 2 and ‘C’ to Qualifying. The used sets will then be used in turn during the race. This regulation for three sets of tyres will help reduce the costs to each team while the more sustainable use of the tyres will mean the category is more environmentally friendly. Gerard Neveu, CEO of Le Mans Endurance Management, said that Michelin enjoys “a long and fruitful relationship with the ACO and is a leader in every category of endurance racing around the world. The use of control tyres in these categories will help reduce the costs to the teams while maintaining a good balance of performance on the track for all the competitors.” Serge Grisin, manager of Michelin’s four-wheel motorsport programmes said the Le Mans partnership would provide the company “with a chance to showcase the benefits of the Michelin Total Performance plan… Indeed, the championship’s regulations call for highly versatile tyres in both classes, since only one type of slick and one type of rain tyre are authorised.” The European Le Mans Series will feature a grid of 29 cars at the opening round of the relaunched series at Silverstone on 13 April. The ELMS will also race at Imola in (17-18 May), Red Bull Ring in (19-20 July), Hungaroring in (13-14 September) and conclude at Paul Ricard in (27-28 September). Each of the five events

will feature a three-hour race on some of the most demanding circuits in Europe. BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt said “the BMW Z4 GTE and BMW Z4 GT3 will benefit from this iconic company’s motorsport experience and from the renowned quality of its tyres.” The BMW Z4s entered by BMW Motorsport will race on 30/68-18 front and 31/71-18 rear tyres. The slick from the French firm’s ‘Ultimate’ endurance range will be available in a choice of three compounds (hard, medium and soft), but just one type of wet weather tyre will be permitted, in accordance with the ALMS regulations. The 2013 programme’s first competitive outing will be the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida, USA, on 16 March. “The BMW Z4s will run on our taller front tyre (30/68-18, instead of 30/65-18) to enable our new partner to take full advantage of the benefit of its Michelin tyres in terms of longevity,” said Michelin’s Grisin. “In January 2013, we began a series of test sessions that involved working with BMW Motorsport to identify the operating windows and pressures of our different slicks and also work on the set-up of the new BMW Z4. This will allow us to make sure that the tires and car work in perfect harmony together so that the team can derive maximum benefit from the car’s performance potential.”

A new Michelin landmark for Le Mans Endurance motorsport offers increased marketing visibility for tyre manufacturers in addition to the opportunities for R&D. The main straight of the Le Mans 24 Hours circuit is to gain a strong Michelin presence, the French tyre maker having entered into an agreement with the ACO to be the exclusive partner for the new standings tower erected beside the pit-lane exit on the main




straight. This 25-metre tall edifice will display the provisional order throughout the race and will be known as the “Michelin Ranking Tower”. The Michelin Ranking Tower will be operational at June’s 90th anniversary Le Mans 24 Hours’ race. It will provide a solution to a problem often associated with 24-hour racing by allowing spectators to follow changes in the leader-board more easily. In the course of the Le Mans 24 Hours’ long history, a number of systems have been employed. The inaugural race in May 1923, for example, saw the ACO use a huge board which was lit up at night by acetylene gas lights. In 1925, sponsors took advantage of this opportunity to display their brand names alongside the race positions. In the 1930s, and

up to the outbreak of World War 2, the ACO made use of this highly visible tool – which was especially effective when lit up at night – to keep the public up to speed with its latest news. The leaderboard returned at the end of the 1940s, but was now located behind the pits. Then, in the 1950s, it was lifted to a higher position when it was fixed to a tubular frame structure built in the garden of the former ‘Welcome’ building. From the mid-sixties and through to the early 1990s, several different solutions were tried, including a three-sided board which displayed the race order day and night thanks to thousands of light bulbs. Some may also remember the airship-mounted leader-board, which floated in the sky above the circuit. When new

pits were built in 1991, a number of trackside giant screens appeared, and these were used to provide regular classification updates. “The erection of the “Michelin Ranking Tower” at Le Mans has given us a chance to provide a permanent landmark for one of endurance racing’s most iconic locations where our tyres have won every Le Mans 24 Hours’ race since 1998,” said Olivier Vialle, Michelin Competition’s marketing director. “It is also our way of celebrating the legendary race’s 90th anniversary. Last but not least, this new structure in Michelin’s colours symbolises the aim we share with the ACO to promote a form of motorsport that genuinely serves to enhance mobility.” sg/cja

Michelin Clio Cup with Protyre establishes “cost-effective” first step THE ORGANISERS OF THE MICHELIN CLIO CUP SERIES with Protyre have established a new saloon car category intended to provide a cost-effective first step into competitive car racing in the UK. Monster Sport Europe, based in Milton Keynes, is the exclusive supplier of a road-to-race conversion kit, which will be available to owners of Clio Renaultsport 197 or Clio Renaultsport 200 cars for £3,760.54, plus VAT. With the addition of a Safety Devices prefabricated Roll Cage Protection System, available through Renaultsport agent Mark Fish Motorsport for £985 plus VAT, organisers say drivers can have a race-ready Clio for less than £6,000. “Our goal is to enable customers to race a road-car based Clio Cup car that will deliver a truly exciting and rewarding competitive experience,” said series manager Simon North, “It is not simply a road car with a bolt-in roll cage, but a racer developed to be as close to the full racing Clio Cup car as possible.” Drivers competing with converted Clio road cars will race on Michelin Pilot Sport 3 treaded tyres – supplied by series partner

and sponsor Protyre – while those racing in the headline class in thoroughbred racing Clios, as currently run in the sister Renault UK Clio Cup championship, will use Michelin slicks. Michelin UK head of marketing Jianni Geras stressed that it is “very important for the Michelin brand to remain closely linked with Renault”, while the series offers “a perfect opportunity to showcase the high performance of our Pilot Sport 3.” sg The series organiser claims a race-ready Clio can be had for less than £6,000


Pirelli back to sponsor first Classic Rally for 25 years PIRELLI

HAS ANNOUNCED that it will be the title sponsor of the Classic Marathon Rally for the first time since 1988. The Rally, currently run on a biennial basis by the Classic Rallying Association, is a qualifying round of the 2013 Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (HERO) Cup in association with EFG International, starting in Ypres in Belgium on 15 June and finishing on 21 June in Cortina d’ Ampezzo in Italy. “History is repeating itself,” said Tomas de Vargas Machuca, the joint managing director of HERO. “Twenty five years ago the Classic Marathon was the first event of its kind ever to be held.” Paul Hembery, global head of motorsport at Pirelli said: “The Classic Marathon is one of the most famous classic car events held anywhere in the world

and it gives us great pleasure to be supporting the event once again.” Machuca added: “We are delighted to see the return of Pirelli to classic rallying. Not only does it bring the necessary prestige to this important event, but it also offers competitors and spectators the opportunity to associate Pirelli to classic car tyres as its heritage in rallying is amongst the most important in the world.” Jeremy Dickson the CRA’s event Director said: “This is great news for classic rallying and we are also delighted that Paddy Hopkirk the 1964 Rallye de MonteCarlo winner and 1990 Classic Marathon winner will be our guest speaker in

Cortina. Not only that but EMO 6, the Mini Cooper S which Hopkirk used to win the Classic Marathon, will be used on the event.” The Pirelli Classic Marathon will also be supported by Borgo Scopeto and Caparzo wineries, one of Tuscany’s most notable wine producers, and will visit Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland before finishing in Italy with an awards dinner at the exclusive ‘Sci Club 18’, one of Italy’s most important ski clubs. akb

Pirelli sponsoring AMCA British Masters Motocross Championship

PIRELLI HAS BECOME a major sponsor of the AMCA British Masters Motocross Championship series. Pirelli has offered up a large number of their market leading Scorpion MX tyres as prizes for riders in the two main classes - which will now be


known as Pirelli MX1 and Pirelli MX2. To support racers using Pirelli, the best performing riders will be eligible for these free tyres to keep down the cost of racing at this important grassroots series. The Pirelli rider with the best results from these two classes and the exciting Youth Mini Masters division will be picked to spend time at the unique Ricky Carmichael University. The series will also benefit from a guest appearance from CLS Kawasaki and Pirelli MX star Tommy Searle, probably the UK’s most promising young rider. The AMCA Wulfsport British Masters Championship has a history of acting as a breeding ground for talented motocross riders. Pirelli has an enviable heritage in Motocross with Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings notching the Italian brand’s latest World Championship crowns extending their tally to 58 World titles. Series organiser Ken Winstanley


commented “It is a great privilege to be associated with Pirelli who manufacture the best Tyre as used by world champions. It is great to give the British Masters riders the opportunity to be part of this great prize package with the Pirelli Scorpion MX Tyres. I am looking forward to a long relationship working with Pirelli UK and look forward to the up and coming season” Pirelli UK Off Road Racing Manager Barry Urand added, “We’re proud to be involved with the AMCA Wulfsport Masters Championship and thank Ken and his team for this opportunity. With generous prize allocations of Pirelli Scorpion tyres it’s good to know we are helping amateur racers with the running costs of motocross sport. The end of year prize of three places on the excellent Ricky Carmichael University really is the icing and a great opportunity, especially for all young, aspiring riders.” cja



Acorn Infinity signs Biagioni for doubled BDC assault Infinity increases sponsorship of team, hopes to challenge for Team Championship Infinity Tyres is increasing its involvement with the Acorn Motorsport team in the 2013 Maxxis British Drift Championship, becoming the title sponsor of the Acorn Infinity Motorsport team. AIM will run double the number of cars this season to four, challenging in all three classes – Semi Professional, Professional and Super Professional – with the goal of improving on last year’s fourth position in the constructor’s table. Ex-Team Japspeed driver Stephen Biagioni, who finished fifth out of 33 competitors in the 2012 series’ Super Professional class helping Japspeed claim the Team Championship, will compete Acorn Infinity Motorsport signing, Stephen alongside founding members Mark “Baggsy” Biagioni, who has competed at the Lappage and Ian Waddington, and new acatop level of British Drifting with Team demy driver in the Semi Professional class, Japspeed for four years Martyn Lowe. Infinity Tyres marketing manager, Clive them with great affection. They showed Mansfield commented: “We are pleased to great faith in me and I hope my performincrease our visibility and support for UK ances and commitment to them during my Drifting and strengthen our partnership time there were appreciated”. Partners Acorn Insurance and Infinity with Acorn Motorsport and the inclusion of Infinity in the team name reflects that. Last Tyres were instrumental in signing Biagioni. year was a promising start to our involve- Acorn stated: “Capturing Baggsy’s signatument in UK Drifting, but we are all now re in only our second year of existence looking forward to the new season, with goes to show how far the team have eager anticipation that we can do even bet- come...” Meanwhile Infinity said it ter in 2013.” was “enthusiastic about Biagioni comBaggsy joining the successmented: “I have ful group of people that every confidence make Acorn Infinity that the team will Motorsport what it is today. do all they can to Their total commitment to provide me with getting the job done and the vehicle and the working to the highest possisupport required to Having sponsored the Acorn Motorsport division in 2012, Infinity ble standards gives us great achieve success in has stepped up to team title partners confidence in supporting the future. They are clearly set up to grow and evolve into an them in 2013 and beyond. The investment even stronger team and I am looking for- in the team is the largest commitment we have ever made in motorsport and this is ward to this fresh challenge. “The team at Japspeed could not have due to their ongoing professionalism and done any more for me in my time there and dedication.” akb I will always look back on my time with



Dunlop tests BTCC soft compound Dunlop has completed its first test of its new MSA British Touring Car Championship soft compound tyre at Rockingham. In 2013 drivers of NGTC specification cars must use one set of soft compound tyres for one of the three races following a regulation change. Drivers must nominate the race in which they will use the tyres without the knowledge of other drivers’ strategies before Saturday’s qualifying session. Dunlop says the new tyres are constructed using a compound “four steps softer” than the regular tyres and which was developed in prototype endurance racing. Testing at Rockingham last week showed that the tyre met the goals set by TOCA of initially providing a minimum one second per lap performance advantage for the first three to four laps followed by a steady drop-off in performance. The new rules have been designed to add an exciting dimension to the racing with tyre management becoming a fundamental part of race strategy. The soft tyres will be used at nine of the ten BTCC rounds in 2013, the exception being Thruxton where the track is too aggressive to allow the safe use of the soft option. Michael Butler, Dunlop BTCC team leader, said the test had gone well: “Rockingham was a successful first test of the new soft compound tyre at one of the most aggressive circuits. We met the objective of lasting the race distance and all the performance parameters set by TOCA. We will carry out more testing at other circuits when the weather improves to validate the results further.” akb



New products aplenty at SIMA IN 1922, THE VERY




MACHINE AGRICOLE, or SIMA, exhibition was

held in Paris. Aside from a pause during the Second World War the international agri-business show has been held annually since then, and in 2013 it celebrated its 75th edition. More than 1,350 exhibitors were present at this year’s show between 24 and 28 February, including a number of familiar tyre industry names.

Michelin shows agri ‘flagship’ prototype

are users, dealers or equipment manufacturers.” Referring to Michelin’s 2013 SIMA According to Emmanuel Ladent, presi- presence, Ladent said the company had dent of Michelin’s Agricultural Tyres global positioned itself in the near future business unit, exhibitions like SIMA give through the presentation of a new protothe tyre maker an opportunity to demons- type product intended for fitment on trate its capacity for innovation. Speaking ultra-power tractors, the Axiobib 2m32. “This concept tyre perfectly illustrates our commitment to ‘innovating to meet farmers’ needs’ while reaffirming our constant focus on research and development,” the business unit president shared. The size IF 850/75 R 42 AxioBib prototype is the largest tyre in Michelin’s agricultural line-up. This RCI 50 (Rolling Circumference Index) tyre has a height of 2.32 metres and a load capacity of 9.5 tonnes. The AxioBib 2m32 caters to an emerging trend in the world of farming. Tractor size and power has steadily increased, with the latest models boasting more than 350hp. Michelin has responded with larger diameter tyres, from 1.95m to 2.05m, 2.15m and finally 2.32m. Michelin describes the tyre as the flagship product in its agricultural portfolio; the At 2.32m tall and weighing 9.5 tonnes, the Axiobib 2m32 is AxioBib 2m32 integrates the Michelin’s largest agricultural tyre company’s Ultraflex technoloduring the exhibition week, Ladent com- gy, which makes it possible carry heavier mented that “trade shows of this size loads at low pressure (up to 0.8 bar). serve as showcases that enable us to This means more traction without any demonstrate the tangible solutions we shifting on the rim as well as less soil develop for our customers, whether they compaction.



New Apollo Vredestein ranges Apollo Vredestein launched a pair of new product lines at SIMA; the new Vredestein Greentrax for lawn and ground care equipment and new Apollo tyres for industrial and construction machinery. The Greentrax range is available from March 2013, while the Apollo product was earmarked for a late February launch. This second product’s introduction is a significant step for Apollo, as it represents the launch of the Apollo brand Europe’s industrial sector. The Vredestein Greentrax is designed for parkland use on verges, lawns, public gardens, football pitches and more. It works to preserve the green surface while offering improved operational efficiency at lower costs, the company says, adding that the tyre is built with a large amount of rubber in the contact surface, which allows rutting to be minimised. The Greentrax has also been designed to offer increased durability on paved roads when travelling from one mowing location to the next, while comfort and stability have been helped by the suspension offered by the tyre’s diagonal construction and a flexible carcass has been used to reduce vibrations. The open shoulder tread contains lateral grooves which, combined with the top-quality rubber compound, increase grip and traction. The reinforced sidewall of the Greentrax and raised rubber rim provide protection when the tyre comes into contact with kerbstones. Apollo’s new industrial tyres for construction applications are suitable for fitment on backhoe loaders, telescopic handlers, compact wheel loaders and soil



compactors in road construction and earthmoving. Apollo says the tyres are reliable and robust, offering a good pricequality ratio. The specific user requirements Apollo sought to meet in the tyres’ development included grip on muddy and loose soils, protection against impacts on stony surfaces and driver comfort on paved roads. Three tread patterns are available. The AIT 416 and AIT 426 tyres feature Apollo’s R4 tread design for use on a wide range of construction equipment. The ARC 317 tyre has an R3 tread with cleats in a diamond-shaped pattern with a deep tread. It is designed for soil compactors.

Mitas showcases SFT Mitas debuted its Super Flexion Tyre (SFT) at SIMA. Mitas SFT tyres are made for high-horsepower tractors (>180 hp). While Mitas has been selling Americanmade SFT tyres in North America since summer 2012, The SFT tyre on display at SIMA was manufactured in Europe. “Mitas’ Super Flexion Tyres compete with the Improved Flexion concept,” said Andrew Mabin, marketing and sales director. “The SFT enables the flexibility of variable inflation pressure and optimal performance according to application. SFT is Mitas’ response to the compromi-

The Mitas SFT


sed performance of one-pressure-for-all Improved Flexion tyres. Original equipment manufacturers require each element of farm machinery to contribute to the overall performance, including tyres. “Mitas SFT draws on the performance of Continental SVT farm tyres,” added Mabin. “Mitas has been successfully manufacturing Continental agricultural tyres since 2004, under licence. The SFT concept will appeal to European original equipment manufacturers and farmers alike.” “The hallmark of SFT is gentle ground-handling,” Mabin said. The SFT tyre on display is 900/60 R42. This tyre exerts a ground pressure reduced by 33 per cent when compared with an IF tyre of the same size. The tyre on display has a contact area (flat plate) of 4,800 cm2 and nominal load of 8 tonnes. The 900/60 R42 tyre is currently the largest and heaviest Mitas farm tyre. It weighs 426 kilogrammes and has a diameter of 2.15 metres. Its recommended inflation pressure spans from 0.8 to 2.8 bars depending on speed and load.

TM3000 – ranges designed according to Trelleborg’s BlueTire Technology. Providing additional details about these new releases, Paolo Pompei, president of Trelleborg Wheel Systems’ Agricultural & Forestry Tires business unit, commented that the “TM3000 is Trelleborg’s answer to the latest generation of harvesters and combine machines.” He added: “By the end of the year, we plan to phase in three more TM3000 sizes, the IF 800/65R32 CFO, the IF 800/70R38 CFO and the IF 1050/50R32 CFO.” As for the TM1000, Pompei described them as “the next generation of IF tyres which are capable of carrying more load at a lower pressure.” He said the TM1000 High Power, a product Trelleborg co-designed with leading tractor manufacturers, has reportedly been “extremely well received so far.”

Firestone agricultural sprayer tyre launched

Bridgestone Europe has announced details of its first Firestone tyre for the agricultural sprayer market, the Performer Row Crop. Displayed for the first time at SIMA 2013 in size 270/95R48, Firestone Trelleborg TM1000 and TM3000 expands the Performer Row Crop tyre Trelleborg’s SIMA stand featured two size line up to include 85, 90 and 95 new products, the IF 900/60R42 TM1000 series in the near future. “Firestone conHigh Power and IF 800/70R32 CFO centrates on solutions that give farmers a more efficient and sustainable way of working, through savings in fuel consumption and working time,” said Harald Van Ooteghem, senior manager marketing planning, Bridgestone Europe. The Performer Row Crop is designed to provide maximum efficiency in the field and on the road through their high load-carrying capacity and high speed index, Firestone says, enabling farmers to use large tanks and save time in spraying operations. On the road, the tyre is also designed for increased efficiency with a high speed index. The tyre has a dual angle lug drive pattern to allow greater speed over all ground conditions. Firestone also claims the tyre demonstrates excellent accuracy, providing good ride comfort and steering response, even at these higher speeds. akb/cja/sg




Sustainable materials to remain a green tyre niche – for now SPEAKING AT THE TIRE TECHNOLOGY that “although this marEXPO in February, Andrew Page, UK- ket is expected to signifibased business manager of reports and consultancy at Smithers Rapra, shared on the global market for green tyres – the subject at the heart of the company’s latest tyre industry market report, the Future of Green Tires to 2017. One significant projection Page shared from the Smithers Rapra report is that although the value of green tyre market is expected to grow by more than 56 per cent between 2012 and 2017, green tyres based on sustainable and bio-materials will likely play a comparatively minor role in this growth. For the purpose of Page’s speech (and the Smithers Rapra report), green tyres were defined as both tyres utilising materials, particularly elastomers, obtained from sustainable bio-materials, and tyres that achieve lower rolling resistance through the use of carbon black, silica or other traditional materials. “The global market for green tyres was valued at US$44.8 billion in 2012, 28 per cent of the total tyre market,” Page shared. “This may sound surprising but don’t forget we’re looking at both energy tyres and green material tyres. And we see great potential in this market rising to just over $70 billion over the next five years.” This is 35 per cent of the total market and a compound annual growth rate of 9.5 per cent.” But what sort of green tyre is represented in this growth? According to Page, Smithers Rapra opines that much of this 9.5 per cent CAGR will be achieved through the sales of ‘standard’ low rolling resistance tyres. Referring to sustainable material tyres such Sumitomo’s Enasave 97 and Enasave 100, Page said



cantly grow, even the most optimistic forecasts put them as remaining a high-end specialty product. We still see this, for the next five years at least, to be somewhat of a niche market. At the moment, when we’re looking at green tyre market, we growth primarily in terms of low rolling resistance and energy tyres, and the introduction and adoption of new kinds of According to Adam Page from Smithers Rapra, sustainable material tyres will likely remain a niche product during the current decade bio-materials is going to take longer to take off in the global mar- the next largest region in terms of value in 2017, Asia Pacific, should trail far ket.” Smithers Rapra anticipates that by behind at only 31 per cent (up from 24 2017, 92 per cent of the green tyre mar- per cent in 2012). North American share ket will be held by tyres that achieve of the green tyre market should grow lower rolling resistance through the use by a modest three per cent to 17 per of (non-sustainable) filler technology, cent, while South America’s share is tipwhile only one per cent of green tyres ped to increase from three per cent to will reach this goal through the use of four per cent. “Geographically, our information improved synthetic elastomers – the same percentage as in 2012. An estima- showed a big spike for Europe. What was ted five per cent of green tyres in 2017 clear from our research is that when you will be those with an increased use of look at energy tyres and green tyres, one natural rubber, and a further two per cent of the drivers that are going to influence will utilise improved inner liner materials. the market is consumer willingness to Regarding a timeframe for the widespre- pay for premium or added-functionality ad adoption of sustainable material tyres, tyres. That’s why we see the European Page opines that Bridgestone’s goals to market as stronger than the other marreach total ‘cradle to grave’ sustainability kets – there’s a greater willingness in Europe to pay for this,” Page commented. in 2050 may be realistic. As for who’ll be buying green tyres “In terms of how we see green tyres over the next five years, Europe’s current developing by region, Europe is the priregional dominance will continue. mary market at the moment, but we see Although the region’s share of the green Asia Pacific as being an interesting martyre market by value is projected to ket in terms of prospects. Not just as a decrease from 56 per cent to 44 per cent driver of green tyres but also as a driver between 2012 and 2017, this proportional for the tyre market as a whole. There is decline reflects Europe’s already strong very high growth there.” adoption of these products compared with other regions. It was also noted that




‘Incomparable’ HungaroJet describes its process for producing a superior rubber powder THE

in the production of new tyres hasn’t really taken off yet, and a main reason for this is because the rubber powder produced by traditional recycling methods doesn’t always reach the level of purity required by new tyre makers – indeed, the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association opines that “while in the EU around 39 per cent of material from end of life tyres is recovered [this includes rubber, but also steel and fabric], recycled materials cannot be used as a substitute for natural rubber in new tyres because of technical limitations.” But now a firm in Hungary claims to have perfected a process that removes every last trace of steel from the rubber powder, thereby overcoming this limitation. Speaking with Tyres & Accessories during February’s Tire Technology Expo in Germany, Gábor Kostyál, CEO of HungaroJet Ltd., described the technology involved and how it can benefit the tyre and rubber industry. USE OF RECYCLED TYRE RUBBER

“No other technology comparable to ours exists,” states Kostyál. “It removes rubber from whole tyres without the need to shred them first. Our powder has no steel content at all – current technologies always have a residual amount, even cryogenic techniques have some steel particles.” To prove his argument, Kostyál holds up a section of still-intact steel cord, completely denuded of rubber. “We can demonstrate where the steel is – and it’s not in our powder.” The active rubber polymer powder produced through the HungaroJet technique is called GUMjet, and the process involved in its creation can be described at a very basic level as an ultra-high pressure waterjet milling technology. No prior shredding is required before the tyres are processed, and the technique allows for the various tyre components to be dealt with separately. “A second benefit compared with conventional techniques is that our system has a unique method of separating the tread from the sidewall and inner liner,” Kostyál explains. “We had to create three separate machines for peeling off the rubber. The first machine deals exclusively with the tread, the second with the sidewall and the third with the inner liner.” The procedure, Kostyál elaborates, starts with washing: “We use water puri-


fied through reverse osmosis technology – this is recycled and not lost in the process.” Then the first machine peels off the tread. The steel cord remains, as a whole, minus the rubber. Next the sidewalls are cut off into two rings, and these go into a separate machine for milling. After this, the remaining inner liner rubber is peeled off. The process was developed by Hungarojet’s engineers. “They approached us with the idea in 2008; some of the company’s experts have been working on it for about ten years at an experimental level,” shares Kostyál, adding that HungaroJet then set up a plant near Budapest in order to show “that the idea can be commercially viable.” In 2008 HungaroJet’s technology was awarded a prize at the Lyon-based Pollutec show the largest European Recycling Exhibition. At present this plant can produce 1,000 tonnes of rubber powder per year, a quantity obtained from 1,300 tonnes of tyres. Admittedly, this is a small commercial output, and the CEO says that the 300 or so tonnes of steel cord remaining after the process are taken away by steel collectors. When asked about the cost of producing GUMjet, Gábor Kostyál notes that the process used in its manufacture is more expensive than conventional


methods, but creates a higher value product. “No particle above 1mm is present – we don’t use knives or direct mechanical energy, therefore our energy consumption is higher. On the other hand, we don’t need to exchange knives and therefore make savings with this.” And when elaborating on the quality of GUMjet, Kostyál explains that “the structure of the powder produced is better; the morphology of every piece of dust is fundamentally different from those produced through cryogenic processes. They have a much higher surfaceto-mass ratio. The difference is very clear when looking at the results through an electron microscope.” This difference may be verifiable through such an inspection, however winning over sceptics is not as easy as presenting them with a microscope. Kostyál shares that although Continental has been endorsing HungaroJet’s products, the Hungarian firm must still turn around manufacturer resistance against the idea of using recycled rubber in new tyres; he sees this as the company’s most important task. “They are very cautious and don’t necessarily believe the test figures – they test and re-test. Therefore we need to repeatedly demonstrate the chemical purity and cleanliness of our product. This is very


Impro ved br in wet aking and h and d ry con andling ditions

Enhanced hig h speed stability and endurance

riving d e lin ght omfort i a r t s ced ce and c n a h En rman perfo

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Ambient (l) and cryogenic (mid) crumb have limited specific surfaces because of their typically plane particle surfaces. This is due to the shear zone of ambient milling, as well as the brittle fracturing of cryogenic grinding. The waterjetground powder particles (r) contain a high level of specific surfaces

heavy work for us.” Nevertheless, the CEO believes the tyre industry “has the potential to become our number one customer.” In addition to proving product quality, a goal for HungaroJet is to see GUMjet produced in economically viable quantities. Gábor Kostyál says plans to create new factories and a production system are already laid out, and currently HungaroJet is looking for local partners around the world. “We’ve already created some commercial partnerships and we aim to establish a plant that is five to eight times bigger than the current plant – that will give us the right economy of scale.” One partner present with Gábor Kostyál and György Moldován at the Tire Technology Expo was Lothar Günzel, director of Gum Germany, who represents the Hungarian firm in that particular market.

An additional priority is product development. “Further developing our product is what we love the most,” shares Kostyál. “This is taking several directions: First, we’re opening up a new, end of line product market, such as for PCR, OTR tyres and the milling of factory rejects. And then we’re also implementing further advances in energy reduction and automation – the cheaper, faster, more efficient utilisation of water and energy in our process. As well as this, together with tyre and non-tyre customers we are looking into different applications for our. We’re working with a Hungarian firm on a rubber bitumen product, and we are also exploring thermoplastic elastomers as an intelligent filler. Furthermore, the area of coatings is one we’ve yet to explore, but we believe potential exists there.” As a company that’s been in the business for less than five years, it could be

said that HungaroJet is still in the early stages of its evolution. Recognition for the Hungarian company is growing, however. In addition to attracting Continental’s attention, HungaroJet’s innovation was recently acknowledged by its nomination for an ‘Environmental Achievement of the Year’ award at this year’s Tire Technology Expo awards. Although the award went to the brand new, US-based Bridgestone Americas Technical Center, Kostyál said HungaroJet was honoured to be nominated alongside great, globally-active competitors. The company’s nomination together with Bridgestone, Continental and Hankook is also recognition of the potential the HungaroJet process and the GUMjet end product holds.

(l to r): Technology developer and HungaroJet COO György Moldován, HungaroJet CEO Gábor Kostyál, and Gum Germany director Lothar Günzel




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GT Radial to debut first city bus tyre at CV Show Pirelli OE on new Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 PIRELLI HAS ANNOUNCED that it is supplying bespoke P-Zero tyres to Lamborghini for the new Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster. The new Pirelli-equipped Roadster was presented to the international press today at the Homestead circuit and on normal roads in Florida, USA. The event the car featured 255/30 ZR20 tyres at the front and 355/25 ZR21 tyres at the rear. According to Pirelli, the bespoke P Zero tyres are the result of a close collaboration between Pirelli and Lamborghini engineers, who were able to develop an innovative solution that guaranteed the best stability, comfort and handling on a car capable of accelerating from 0-100 km/h in just three seconds and reaching a maximum speed of 350 km/h. The development work carried out by Pirelli’s technicians particularly concentrated on the rolling circumference of the tyres. In order to best respond to the needs of the Lamborghini’s fourwheel drive system, structures built with special materials and firmer compounds were used. This contains the deformation of the tyre and maintains the high performance and rolling characteristics in all usage conditions. cja


GT RADIAL has announced that it will debut its first all position urban city-bus tyre at its CV Show stand (A60) in Hall Five on 9-11 April at the Birmingham NEC. The GAU861 has a reinforced sidewall to improve curbing and impact damage resistance, the manufacturer says, while the new tyre will start with a 20.2mm tread depth. As well as promoting the new product, GT Radial GT Radial’s first specialist citysays it will be presenting its com- bus tyre, the GAU861 will be mercial vehicle roadside service debuted at April’s CV Show assistance programme, GT Assist, alongside the pre-existing range for the launched in December 2012. In addition to increasing damage bus sector, makes us a very strong proresistance, GT Radial says the GAU861 position for operators. “GT Assist will also make its debut at has been designed for comfort and reduced noise. It is also M+S marked, with the show having been launched in improved traction in mud and snow con- January. Designed specifically to create ditions. The tyre will be available initially the full fleet requirement package of proin size 275/70R22.5, and can be used in duct, price and service from a mid-tier both steer and drive positions on both tyre manufacturer, we encourage fleet operators to come on stand and learn 4x2 and 6x2 configurations. GT Assist operates throughout the more.” GT Radial will also show its recently UK and Republic of Ireland in collaboration with the 180 sites in the brand’s launched GAR820 and GDR619 regional dealer network. It offers a maximum 90 steer and drive tyres. The two tyres were minute response time, putting it on par created to respond to the fast developing with the best in the industry, throughout medium sized truck market, which GT Radial characterises as having increased 365 days of the year. The programme is managed by RAC requirements for comfort, noise, wet and Commercial Assistance (RACCA), who dry handling and better wear out perforwill take the initial breakdown call and mances. Both initially available in size find the nearest dealer who has both the correct product and capability to attend 215/75R17.5, four other main sizes in the the scene within the strict timescale, and 17.5 segment will come to market during Infleet, who will handle all back office 2013. The GAR820 and GDR619 carry M+S marking indicating good winter perfunctions. Tony McHugh, sales and marketing formances. GT Radial says all of its new heavy director at Giti Tire UK, manufacturer of GT Radial, said: “The new urban city-bus truck products are the result of its advantyre has been designed specifically and ced testing and evaluation programme, extensively tested to ensure it meets the which it says has more than 1,000 tyres demanding requirements of the on field test across Europe at any time. The casings of each are designed for European market. “The performance figures and feed- retreading using both cold and hot proback we have collated make for impressi- cesses. akb ve reading and we believe this product,



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Toyo Tires on Toyota Prius+ Proxes R35A have been chosen by Toyota for original equipment fitment on the new Prius+.The first full hybrid seven-seater in Europe has been equipped withToyo 215/50 R17 91V Proxes R35A from launch.

Toyo Proxes R35A tyres reportedly help the Prius+ to offer the lowest emissions of any seven-seater on the market. Because Toyota sees its Prius+ as not just about the environment, but also a “spacious and luxurious family car that benefits from multiple innovations, the

company also requires that tyres offer safety, ride comfort and low noise. According to Toyo, the Proxes R35A delivers, ensuring drivers of the most environmentally conscious seven-seater, enjoy the experience in safety and comfort. cja

Hofmann re-introduces electro-mechanical & hydraulic lifts Renown German brand Hofmann has reintroduced a number of lifts into its line-up. The products, previously known under the Europa name, have been reintroduced to complement the current range of electro-mechanical products manufactured at Hofmann’s European factory. The lift range, which includes both electro-hydraulic and the EML 3000 two-post electro-mechanical lift, is available from all Hofmann distributors. “We have strived to ensure the range of two-post lifts we offer cover the vast majority of applications without adding many different models,” commented Chris Pleass, Hofmann’s national sales manager. “The lifts in our portfolio

are all flexible in their capabilities and that are ideal for light commercials and are designed to meet the needs of the long wheel base vans such as the UK market. Among the new products is Mercedes Sprinter.” All Hofmann twothe return of the EHL post lifts are supplied 3200 electro-hydraulic with installation, operator two-post lift that’s training and a two-year ideal for most cars and warranty as standard, light commercial vehiplus a ten year Nylatron cles up to 3.2 tonnes, nut warranty. Hofmann is suitable for most lifts are exclusively availafloors and is available ble via the company’s in both single and UK-wide distributor partthree-phase versions. ners. In addition, we’ve also sg added four and five Making a return is the EHL 3200 electro-hydraulic two-post lift, available tonne capacity electro- in single and three-phase versions and suitable for most cars and light hydraulic baseless lifts commercial vehicles up to 3.2 tonnes

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Conti partnering with BMW to automate motorway driving Automotive supplier Continental has already conducted trials with a ‘driverless car’ in the US, and now the firm will further its work in this field through a research partnership with the BMW Group. Under this arrangement, the two German companies will pool their development capacities to define the long-term prerequisites for introducing highly automated driving on European motorways In January 2013, Conti and BMW signed an agreement to jointly develop an electronic co-pilot for this purpose. The overriding aim of the research partnership is to pave the way to highly automated driving functions beyond the year 2020. “Automated driving is a key element in future mobility. It will significantly enhance safety, comfort and efficiency on the roads,” said Dr. Elmar Degenhart, chairman of Continental’s Executive Board. “In collaboration with BMW Group, we will work out an overarching technical concept that enables highly automated freeway driving in a way that is safe, attractive, and affordable for end customers. “We are enriching the project with our systems expertise in the areas of vehicle safety, driver information, and powertrain technology,” Degenhart added. “The joint research project with BMW Group addresses the enormous need for the kind of R&D required to realise the vision of automated driving. After all, driving cannot be automated overnight. It is, much more, a gradual process, stretching out over a period of over ten years." According to the Continental/BMW plan, vehicle automation is set to be rolled out in stages, starting with partially automated driving from 2016, high levels of automation from 2020 and – ultimately – fully automated systems available from 2025. The cooperative project between the two companies runs through to the end of 2014. Several prototype test vehicles equipped for automated driving are set to be built in the course of these two years. The research prototypes will then be made available to a select team of trained test participants. Employing close-to-production technology, testing will involve analysing highly automated driving functions both on Germany’s


Conti and BMW hope full automation will be achieved by 2025

autobahn network and on motorways in other European countries. The tests will cover all the challenges motorways pose, such as junctions, toll booths and road works. As research partner, Continental will make key contributions in several areas of the project; for example, the company will provide the driving environment sensor systems needed to operate the test vehicles. The aim is to create a high-performance model of the vehicle environment. This will involve the use of both long-range radar and camera systems already in series production at Continental. To ensure the test fleet operates without incident al all times, Continental will develop a safety architecture that allows for the vehicles’ stable operation even if malfunctions occur. In addition to helping with the test vehicles’ construction, the company will play a key role in defining both the functional and the electrical/electronic architecture (E/E architecture). Continental will be involved in the development of functions and in conducting the necessary back-end research under BMW Group's guidance. Today, more than 1,300 specialists at


Continental are already working on the basics of automated driving. They deal specifically with driver assistance systems, such as adaptive cruise control and emergency brake assistance. These make use of sophisticated technology like cameras and infrared and radar systems to record the vehicle environment in various driving situations, thereby alerting, assisting, and relieving the driver. Since its first production project for the Mercedes S-Class in 1999, Continental has engaged in more than 100 driver assistance systems projects for automotive manufacturers around the world. The company also participated in the EU research project HAVEit in 2011, developing a highly automated assist system for driving in traffic jams and around road works. The project provided an example of technology suitable for a complex traffic scenario. Alongside its involvement in other research projects, such as AKTIV and the DARPA Urban Challenge, the company completed a two-week endurance test with already close-to-production technology in the US state of Nevada in early 2012. The company’s test vehicle has driven more than 15,000 miles on public roads there. sg



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Drive pattern completes Michelin 295/80 MultiWay 3D line-up MICHELIN COMPLETED THE LAUNCH of its new 295/80 R 22.5 X MultiWay 3D range into the UK market with the introduction of the drive pattern tyre (XDE) during January.The XDE debut follows the September 2012 launch of the steer tyre (XZE), and now sees both products in full production at Michelin’s plant in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. The 295/80 R 22.5 X MultiWay 3D XDE and XZE are aimed at regional and national operators on a mix of local and major trunk roads. The tyres have been developed by Michelin principally for UK fleets, where this popular size is favoured by domestic operators. Commenting on the launch, Sharn Samra, Head of Truck Marketing at Michelin, said: “The X MultiWay 3D represents the cutting edge of new tyre technology, and we’re launching it into a market where the 295/80 accounts for approximately 25 per cent of all commercial vehicle tyres sold.” Michelin notes that the XZE launch last September led to Michelin’s UK market share growing by two points, and it says this positive statistic is backed up by feedback from early adopters of the new tyre across the country. “The previous generation XZE2+ and XDE2+ tyres had been in production for a decade, yet they were still holding their own against competitor products,” Samra added. “With the new X MultiWay 3D we’ve taken a

massive step forward and operators can reap the benefits of an all-new tyre combining excellent traction, increased longevity, enhanced fuel-efficiency with outstanding safety, comfort and costeffectiveness.” The X MultiWay 3D range gets its name from its three-dimensional tread sipes, which generate grip in difficult driving conditions, locking together when needed to maintain the stability of the tread. “This helps to provide lasting safety and mobility on dry, damp and wet surfaces, whilst the 3PMSF (3 Peaks Mountain Snow Flake) and M+S (Mud + Snow) sidewall markings are a further indication of excellent grip and traction during winter conditions,” states Michelin The launch of the 295/80 steer and drive tyres in this new range follow the launch in 2011 of the 315/70 and 315/80 X MultiWay 3D steer and drive tyres, products the tyre maker says have quickly established themselves amongst the topselling Michelin commercial vehicle tyres on the Continent. “The full X MultiWay

X MultiWay 3D XZE (l) and XDE

3D range is testament to the 592 million euros of investment Michelin channels into research and development every year – more than any other tyre manufacturer,” writes Michelin in a statement. Michelin has manufactured more than 30,000,000 tyres in Ballymena since its plant opened in 1969. The company also produces remanufactured commercial vehicle tyres at its site in Stoke-on-Trent, and has an extensive car tyre production facility in Dundee. sg

Yokohama Tire launches commercial tyres in US YOKOHAMA TIRE CORPORATION HAS ANNOUNCED the launches of itsTY517 ultra wide base drive tyre and its RY407 ultra wide base trailer tyre, to be unveiled at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS). Both will be showcased in Yokohama’s booth (14124) at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Kentucky on 2123 March. Both tyres are available on the North Aerican market now in size 445/50R22.5.


“The two new tyres highlight our latest technology in casing design, tread design and rubber compounding,” said Rick Phillips, Yokohama’s director of commercial sales. Phillips said the TY517, which is a SmartWay-verified tyre, “delivers outstanding traction, long, even wear, extraordinary durability and increased retreadability – all designed to cut the bottom line.” The RY407, also a SmartWay-verified tyre, features an ultralow profile and “offers excellent fuel efficiency and significant weight savings, which add up to increased payloads. There’s


less weight because there’s one tire and wheel assembly instead of two. And because of its unique design and construction, the RY407 is a very durable and a retreadable product.” “We are excited to launch the two tyres at MATS and their full production. They are both SmartWay-verified tyres for low rolling resistance, which means that they will run cooler and help reduce fuel consumption. This, in turn, means lower costs for fleets while being environmentally-friendly,” said Phillips.




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Bridgestone to close Italian pcr plant European production to focus on premium segment The Bari plant’s demise is linked to a shift to premium production

Last May, Bridgestone celebrated the golden jubilee of its Bari passenger car tyre factory in Italy. There will be no diamond jubilee, however; on 4 March, Bridgestone Europe stated that the plant will be closed. Operations at the Bari facility are expected to cease within the first half of 2014, although the exact timing of the closure, along with terms and conditions, are yet to be discussed. Bridgestone says it is “immediately available to start the discussion to identify the best solution in order to minimise, as much as possible, the social impact of the decision on the approximately 950 employees involved, in line with the culture of the group.”


The decision to close the Bari plant was taken following an “in-depth analysis of the structural changes which have taken place over the last two years in the tyre market both in Europe and globally,” the tyre maker comments. Bridgestone looked at information and analysis from independent external sources and determined that the overall passenger car tyre segment within the European Union declined from 300 million units in 2011 to 261 million in 2012, a 13 per cent reduction, and no recovery to pre-2011 volume is foreseen before 2020. The only segment with positive forecasts is premium. Manufacturers in emerging countries were also named as a decisive factor. Bridgestone says the sector is “suffering from increasing pressure” from producers in these lands, due to the cost competitiveness advantages they hold. They have, in Bridgestone’s words, been “continuously increasing their market share in the low-range segment, where they enjoy significant advantages in terms of production costs, at the expense of the major, quality tyre manufacturers such as Bridgestone.” In response to these factors, Bridgestone says it is “reprioritising its


production” to focus on the premium segment of the market. This is bad news for Bari; Bridgestone describes the plant as “characterised by a production mainly based on products today considered of general use,” adding that it is “also penalised on the cost point of view by factors such as logistic costs and energy costs.” During the plant’s 50th anniversary celebration, held on 1 May 2012, Ryutaro Ishii, senior vice-president Manufacturing Bridgestone Europe, commented that it is “vital for us to be able to produce the best tyres in Europe at competitive cost.” This goal, it appears, was one the tyre maker couldn’t reach; Bridgestone said it made “repeated efforts” to overhaul the Bari plant in order to meet these new challenges; equipment for producing UHP tyres was installed in the factory in 2009-2010 and the supply of Bari-produced run-flat tyres to BMW was approved in 2011. However the tyre maker indicates that Bari is still, relative to its other European plants, not in a strong position to accommodate the structural decrease in demand and shift towards premium products that has taken place. Therefore, Bridgestone states it has been left “with no other choice than to


proceed with the closure of this site.” It adds that the decision was taken after a thorough analysis of all possible alternatives, but it says “none of these were feasible.” Bari is presently one of eight Bridgestone tyre plants in Europe, the others being located in Spain, France, Poland and Hungary. The Bari plant came under Bridgestone control in 1988, following the company’s global acquisition of Firestone. The first Bridgestonebranded radial was produced there in 1991. The plant moved to a seven-day a week production cycle in 1994 after obtaining ISO 9002 certification the previous year; ISO / TS 16949 certification was obtained in 2003. A new warehouse for raw materials was built in Bari in 2010. As of last year, the factory produced 20,000 passenger car tyres a day for European original equipment and replacement markets. In announcing the closure, Bridgestone stresses that this decision “will not have any effect on the other existing group entities in Italy, one of the key markets in Europe, including the Technical Centre Europe near Rome and the sales office in Agrate Brianza.” sg



Nexen increases China production, sales presencec KOREAN


NEXEN TYRE dealers, who came from all over China, ning. Tyres for both cars and light com-

has announced its plans to increase production at its Chinese plant in Qingdao from eight to ten million units, this year. Speaking in front of around 100 Chinese dealers at the 2013 Nexen Tyre Annual Awards in Yunnan, China, Nexen said it also plans to expand its sales activities with more intensive regional marketing and innovate market-specific products from its Qingdao research and development centre. At the prize presentation held during the three-day dealer conference, awards were presented to Chinese tyre dealers with outstanding performance and high sales growth in the past year. The

were told of the manufacturer’s plans to expand market-oriented and customerspecific products, as well as an extended dealer network in China. These plans were heralded by the establishment of a new sales branch in Shanghai – the Shanghai Nexen Tyre Sales Co., Ltd. Park Kang-Cheol, president of Nexen Tyre Shanghai, summarised: “Nexen will continue to do well in China with its highquality products and strong competitiveness, supporting the business activities of its local partners”. Nexen Tyre’s Qingdao factory’s foundations were laid amidst a 1,653sqkm site in May 2006 after five years’ plan-

mercial vehicles have been produced there since January 2008. The capacity was previously increased from seven million units in 2011 to eight million in 2012. It employs 1,600 local production workers. Nexen exported 70 per cent of its Qingdao production to more than 120 different countries in 2010. The remaining 30 per cent was sold directly in China. The expansion will help the company to service increasing demand from the domestic market. In 2013, Nexen estimates that 10 million tyres will be produced. akb

Nexen Tyre’s factory in Qingdao, Shandong Province will undergo another expansion in 2013 with the aim of servicing the domestic market

Hankook aiming for 12-15% US market share AT HANKOOK TIRE America’s annual ‘Partners Day’, the tyre maker gave an overview of its recent successes and shared it plans to build upon these accomplishments. US industry publication Tire Review was there and shared news of the event held in Cancun, Mexico. Hyun Bum Cho, chief marketing officer parent company Hankook Tire, told dealers that Hankook Tire America has enjoyed annual average sales growth of 13 per cent over the past seven years, an occurrence he attributed to product quality, increased brand awareness, added OE fitments and an aboveaverage capacity expansion of five to six per cent each year. Cho also told key dealers and distributors present at the meeting that, long-term, the tyre maker aims to increase its current five per cent US market share to between 12 and 15 per cent.


Shawn Denlein, senior vice-president of sales at Hankook Tire America, noted that the operation increased its sales to US$1.2 billion in 2012. Outlining the company’s growth goals for 2013, he said that a decision regarding the establishment of a new plant in the US would be taken in 2013 (Hyun Bum Cho said Hankook is 80 per cent certain it will build a US plant and the search for a suitable site is still under way), and the company intends to increase sales to $1.4 billion and market share to 5.4 per cent. Hankook Tire America also intends to enhance its ‘One’ dealer programme. Newly appointed Hankook Tire America President Byeong Jin Lee and senior vice-president of marketing Jeong Ho Park were also introduced to dealers for the first time during the meeting. tr/sg




Innovators acknowledged at Tire Tech awards EVERY YEAR, those within the tyre industry that stand out from their peers are honoured at the Tire Technology Expo awards. On the evening of 6 February, the 13th annual awards ceremony took place in Cologne, Germany in the presence of 20 shortlisted companies and numerous high-profile figures within the industry. Awards were presented in five key categories, with the winners decided by a panel of 17 expert judges. Tire Tech awards awaiting their new owners

Apollo Tyres was chosen as Tire Manufacturer of the Year. Shortlisted alongside Bridgestone, Continental and Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Apollo was selected for the award in recognition of the brand’s continued expansion in the European market, growth underpinned by the launch of key products such as its first high performance summer tyre for Europe, the Aspire 4G, and the inauguration of a new technical centre in Enschede, The Netherlands, a site that has taken on global responsibility for passenger car tyre research and development. Announcing Apollo’s selection as Tire Manufacturer of the year, Tire Technology International noted the company’s “impressive” financial growth; in 2011-12, Apollo’s revenue exceeded US$2.5 billion for the first time. “This is a deserved first win for Apollo Tyres,” stated Graham Heeps, editor of Tire Technology International. “The company’s rapid growth over the past decade has been impressive, but for me it’s Apollo’s commitment to meeting the specific challenges of local markets – exemplified by the newly

A Jan Mos (l) and Michael Lutz from Apollo Tyres after receiving their award



opened R&D centre in Europe – that really stands out.” Neeraj Kanwar, vice-chairman & managing director, Apollo Tyres Ltd, added: “The Tire Manufacturer of the Year Award is a recognition of Apollo’s tireless efforts to continuously improve upon every single detail that matters to our customers, in order to give them a safe and comfortable driving experience. At Apollo Tyres, the new reality is sustainable business practices, through which we will continue to create lasting value for our stakeholders.” This year’s shortlist for the ‘Tire Technology of the Year’ award included the EU-Pearls research project, the Ekoprena-based truck and bus tyres from TARRC, Cordenka’s EcoEndurance rayon yarn and Galileo Wheel’s CupWheel tyre. The award went to Cordenka; its EcoEndurance ray yarn is said to allow a reduction in the amount of fabric needed – about 15 per cent in mass terms – to achieve exactly the same performance. This provides cost savings for the tyre manufacturer and results in a lower consumption of raw materials for the production of fabrics. The thinner cord diameter also means that less rubber is required, benefiting rolling resistance. “At a time when the global vehicle industry is focused on reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, it’s appropriate that the Tire Technology of the Year Award should go to a development that will benefit a huge range of applications,” commented Graham Heeps. “It shows that the tyre industry, too, has its part to play in race to reduce weight.”


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The ‘Tire Manufacturing Innovation of the Year’ award, contested by Micropoise, VMI, Herbert Maschinenbau and Ichimaru-Giken, was won by VMI for its FLEXX Belt Maker. This product is said to make it possible to produce high-quality belts in a flexible way, using extrusion instead of calendering. The rubberising, cutting and splicing is all done in one succession of smooth movements, within one machine and the technology can be used for both high and low volume manufacturing. “With a more flexible and economical approach to tire manufacturing, FLEXX Belt Maker opens up opportunities for the tyre industry to supply its customers with optimised tyre designs at a lower cost and shorter lead time, resulting in gains for both manufacturer and consumer,” opined awards judge Henning Olsson, and engineer with OptimumG. Fellow judge Joe Walter, adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Akron, added: “The VMI FLEXX Belt Maker combines state-of-theart advances in disparate components of tyre manufacturing technology (such as gear pump assisted cord-rubber extrusion and optical imaging splice control) while potentially producing more uniform belt plies both in-line with tyre building equipment, or off-line, without the major expense of a calender.”

The FLEXX Belt Maker uses extrusion instead of calendering

Green innovation was covered by the ‘Environmental Achievement of the Year’ award, which was shortlisted by Bridgestone, Continental, Hankook and Hungarian firm HungaroJet. This year the award went to the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center, a facility opened in April 2012 in Akron, the USA, built at a cost of US$100 million and home to 450 staff. The 265,000 square foot complex has been designed to reach LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification and has a multitude of eco-friendly features: bio-swales control and manage storm water run-off while recharging aquifers; a large rainwater cistern collects roof water for later ground irrigation; a vegetative roof covers some portions of below-ground laboratories, reducing cooling requirements; and native plants such as prairie grass dot the building’s landscape. The ‘Tire Industry Dr. Hiroshi Mouri, president, Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Supplier of the Year’, Technology, at the awards ceremony which featured HF



Group, Test World, Kordsa Global and Marangoni Meccanica, went to Test World, which in November 2012 opened the first commercially available, indoor, tyre winter-testing facility, located in Ivalo, Finland. The structure offers customers more stable, predictable winter testing conditions all year round thanks to a closely controlled climate inside the 160 x 16 metre test area. sg

Test World managing director Harri Eskelinen accepts the Tire Industry Supplier of the Year award



“You can keep the so-called workers” A less than cordial discourse on French work practices THE TYRE INDUSTRY received more media coverage than usual in February, and it was all thanks to an exchange of correspondence between Titan International’s Maurice Taylor and French government minister Arnaud Montebourg.The two men can’t by any stretch of the imagination be described as pen friends, however the letters each posted make for interesting reading. It began with the French minister of industrial renewal’s letter of 31 January to Taylor. Montebourg requested Titan reconsider its decision not to purchase Goodyear’s closure-slated Amiens Nord factory. Given the absolute failure of prior negotiations it is hard to imagine he harboured much hope of a change of heart, but the wording of Taylor’s reply probably came as a surprise.

In the letter’s closing paragraph, Maurice Taylor shared his own plans with the French minister of industrial renewal: “Titan is going to buy a Chinese tyre company or an Indian one, pay less than one euro per hour wage and ship all the tyres France needs. “You can keep the so-called workers,” Taylor concluded. “Titan has no interest in the Amien (sic) North factory.”

The French way

Perfect ignorance

“Sir, your letter states that you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are?” responded Taylor on 8 February. He then described his experience of visiting the Amiens Nord site and observing the plant workers in action: “The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three.” Taylor wrote that when he challenged French union workers about this, they replied that this was “the French way.” Taylor also questioned Europe’s ongoing viability as a centre of tyre production, and Montebourg’s failure to address this issue. “The Chinese are shipping tyres into France – really all over Europe – and yet you do nothing. The Chinese government subsidises all the tyre companies. In five years, Michelin won’t be able to produce tyres in France. France will lose its industrial business because its government is more government.”

On 20 February, Montebourg answered the Titan boss’s frank letter with a few choice comments of his own. He described the words in Taylor’s letter as insulting and extremist, and displaying



a “perfect ignorance” regarding France, the country’s internationally-recognised strengths and its relationship with the United States of America. “France is proud to host more than 20,000 foreign companies on its soil, representing nearly two million jobs, a third of industrial exports, 20 per cent of private research and development and 25 per cent of private industrial employment,” wrote Montebourg. “Each year, 700 decisions on local foreign investment create employment value in France. And this strong appeal is not diminishing, on the contrary, it grows stronger year by year.” Montebourg named numerous qualities as decisive factors in these companies’ decisions to be present in France, but listed the “quality and productivity of the French workforce, the commitment, knowhow, talent and skills of French workers” as the overriding reason. Taylor’s comment regarding Michelin also didn’t go down well with Monsieur Montebourg, who reminded the ‘Grizz’ that Titan is 20 times smaller than the French company and 35 times less profitable. “This shows how much Titan could benefit and Montebourg’s letter accused Taylor of displaying ignorance towards France




enormously profit from investing in France,” he added. Then Montebourg broached Taylor’s stated intention to buy a plant in a lowwage country and ship the tyres to France. He referred to this as the exploitation of labour in order to flood the French market and warned the Titan boss that an increasing number of European Union countries are pushing for stronger measures against dumping. “In the meantime, rest assured that you can count on me to have the competent government agencies survey your imported tyres with a redoubled zeal.” Following this second letter, the US Department of State chose to distance itself from the issue. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland described the spat as “a private matter, not a governmentto-government matter.”

Was Taylor’s letter fair? The tone of Maurice Taylor’s letter polarised opinions; some saw it as a long-overdue insight into the problems plaguing French industry, while to others it highlighted the more negative aspects of capitalism. The Titan chairman and CEO rightly views France as an expensive place to do business; according to Eurostat data covering 2011, on average each French private sector worker costs his or her employer 34.2 euros an hour, an amount second only to Belgium as the most expensive in the euro zone (British workers, in comparison, cost 20.1 euros per hour).


Workplace relations are regulated by a 3,200 page labour code and workers enjoy a maximum 35 hour week, yet many would be surprised to learn that the French labour force is one of the world’s most productive. According to OECD statistics covering the OECD 34 countries and the Russian Federation, France’s gross domestic product per hour worked is the seventh highest, and at US$57.7 per hour worked it is 98.5 per cent of the US figure. In this light, the veracity of Taylor’s statement that the Amiens Nord workforce “gets paid high wages but works only three hours [a day]” must certainly be questioned. And while the frustration felt during his dealings with the French government betMaurice Taylor (above) and Arnaud Montebourg’s exchange of ween 2009 and the end of 2011 views were reported around the world should be taken seriously, the But this high cost doesn’t mean Amien Nord plant workers’ productivity – French workers are overpaid; employers or how much pay they take home each are required to pay a sum equal to 50 month – did not cause Titan’s acquisition per cent of an employee’s gross wage as plans to fail in 2011. Of course, a French a social security contribution, and this workforce can’t compete in terms of cost combined with additional levies en- with a plant where workers are paid “less sure that employers must pay the state than one euro per hour” – but that is much in addition to what each worker another discussion entirely. actually receives. According to France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, the average net monthly income in France is approximately 2,000 euros, lower than that enjoyed by some neighbouring countries, and the US.




A ‘transformational leap’ in tyre technology NTRC tyre testing facility enters operation MTS SYSTEMS CORPORATION describes the tyre testing system it has installed at the US-based National Tire Research Center (NTRC) as the “world’s most advanced tyre testing system” , and reports the facility is now fully operational.

replicating manoeuvres required by U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 126. This standard requires that all new cars and trucks sold in the United States weighing less than 10,000 pounds (4.5 tonnes) have an electronic stability control system capable of handling a complex j-turn manoeuvre (rapid 270degree counter clockwise steer input folThe Flat-Trac LTRe Tire Testing System at lowed by 540-degree clockwise overthe Alton, Virginia research centre, is said correction). to be unique in its ability to accurately apply complex, real-world driving manoeuvres to passenger vehicle, light truck and even racing car tyres in a controlled, repeatable laboratory setting. Data generated by these tests are used by OEMs and tyre manufacturers to optimise vehicle safety and performance. “The Flat-Trac LTRe delivers the high-power density and performance bandwidth required to test a very wide range of tires up to and beyond their physical limits,” said Dr. Rich Baker, general manager of MTS Test. “Its ability to replicate real-world manoeuvres with high fidelity represents a real step forward in tyre testing. Not only does it enable that thousands of simulations can be run in the same amount of time it takes to complete a single test on a track, it also paves the way for new test methodologies such as The Flat-Trac LTRe features an electric spindle torque hybrid simulation, which combines the drive that delivers the power density and ultra-high test system with a computer model to performance bandwidth required to apply driving and braking torque at full roadway speeds, under physical evaluate a tyre’s interaction with other loads up to 30,000 N in all three force directions vehicle components and subsystems.” “Right now, there is not a tyre testing For more than 30 years, MTS Flat-Trac Tire Test Systems has offered the indus- system that can accurately replicate the try solutions for flat surface force and 126 manoeuvre in the lab,” said NTRC moment measurement. The unit installed operations director Jonathan Darab bein the Alton facility was specifically de- fore the Alton facility went into operation. signed to meet demanding NTRC speci- “To make sure new designs pass the fications and is capable of simulating a test, vehicle OEMs and tyre manufactwide variety of operating conditions and urers must extrapolate data based on driving events. For example, it is the first other similar events. So, instead of laboratory-based test system capable of having 95 per cent confidence a new




model will pass, they are more like 80 per cent confident.” The 126 manoeuvre creates a serious issue for OEMs, who must tune vehicles to avoid certain frequency levels as well as augment virtual development efforts with additional, resource-intensive physical tests. OEMs do not have a choice, however, because any vehicle that fails the FMVSS 126 test in production incurs significant financial penalties, not to mention damage to brand public image. This is exactly why the NTRC set out to find a tyre testing system that could perform the 126 manoeuvre, among others. Regarding the implications of the new system’s capabilities, NTRC executive director Frank Della Pia commented “we’re creating a whole new genre of testing. There will not be a peer facility for the NTRC. When you add up all the capabilities the NTRC has to offer, it’s going to be a transformational leap in tyre technology.” Jonathan Darab previously described the new facility’s anticipated impact in similar terms: “The closest thing to compare it to is when we went from bias to radial. It was just a huge leap, in terms of the technology used to produce the tyres and the performance of the tyres themselves – that’s how I see our capabilities.” “Tyres play a critical role in overall vehicle performance, safety and energy efficiency. The revolutionary MTS FlatTrac test system at NTRC will enable OEMs and tyre manufacturers to more effectively develop the safer, higher-performing vehicles the world demands,” added Dr. Jeffrey Graves, MTS president and CEO. “We’re confident that the result of our collaboration with NTRC will be a lasting positive impact on the future of tyre and vehicle development worldwide.” sg


Project4_Layout 1 08/03/2013 00:51 Page 1


Starco shares on ‘quest for ultimate FLT tyre’ STARCO’S NEW PLANT in Sri Lanka has now been manufacturing the comp-any’s Tusker and Unicorn fork lift tyre ranges for a year, and the Danish firm says its entry into regular production completes an endeavour that required several years of investment and commitment. Some years ago Starco, who has supplied solid rubber fork lift tyres for many years, noted that there was room for improvement in the design and configuration of solid rubber FLT tyres. Therefore in 2006 the company began developing its own design for a solid rubber FLT tyre, which was launched the following year as the Tusker. At the time production of the Starco-designed tyre was outsourced to other manufacturers. Yet despite the improvements the Tusker delivered compared with conventional FLT patterns, the engineering team at Starco say they still weren’t satisfied. “It was difficult to find other manufacturers whose production technology and quality assurance processes could deliver a product that met the stringent Starco specification and it was difficult to find manufacturers with the production capacity to deliver the product,” explains company CEO Peer Ejlersgaard. The challenge of overcoming the difficulties experienced with outsourced manufacturing led Starco to consider establishing its own solid rubber tyre manufacturing plant – thus giving the company complete control of the product from design to delivery. Starco admits that it had limited experience in tyre manufacturing at the time – its area of expertise being wheel manufacture and tyre design. Erik Spencer, who today is regional director for Starco Nordic Group, travelled to Sri Lanka, the worldwide centre for solid rubber tyre manufacturing and the country where keynote companies such as Trelleborg and Solideal have their operations. “We started with very few contacts in the region, but we soon met and engaged Susantha Perera, a local man with over 20 years experience in the industry, to join our operation.”


A cured tyre in Starco’s Sri Lanka factory



At the same time, Starco implemented a new company-wide global strategy and appointed Richard Todd as chief operating officer for production; Todd was assigned the task of implementing a LEAN programme throughout the group. In August 2011, Todd and Perera joined forces and began to design and develop a new factory in Sri Lanka. They also a local Starco subsidiary, securing the necessary business permits and finding a premises. “Susantha’s local knowledge and understanding of the manufacturing process was the key,“ says Richard Todd, “and having a local man also gave us access to all the best local suppliers.” By November 2011 the factory was completed, the company’s tyre moulds had been shipped from Thailand to Sri Lanka and Starco was ready to train its employees and commence production. Following extensive training and tests, the first containers of Tusker tyres were shipped to market by March 2012. Richard Todd, who has spent the past two years implementing the LEAN programme throughout the Starco group, states: “To establish a new factory, commission the production line and train the employees so that deliveries commence within six months is an impressive achievement.” Like all Starco manufacturing sites, the Sri Lanka factory has adopted the Mini Business Unit (MBU) as the framework for planning, implementing and evaluating the entire manufacturing process, integrating the manufacturing team with all other company employees worldwide who are involved in the logistics process that relates to the factories products, all the way to the customer. Todd shares further plans for the Sri Lanka site: “Beyond our own stringent


p85_Layout 1 08/03/2013 14:22 Page 1


product specification and QA programme, we are working hard to achieve ISO 9001 and 14001 certification. The involvement of the employees in the MBU, our in-house training and our group LEAN programme are bringing excellence within our grasp.” Starco CEO Peer Ejlersgaard is proud of the new factory and says “it gives us a great satisfaction to see the result and to know that we have complete control of this product, giving us a competitive edge in the marketplace. Before, we had many good ideas for solid rubber tyre products, but we were limited by the manufacturing opportunities available. Now, the sky is not the limit.”

The Sri Lanka factory currently has a production capacity of up to 80,000 tyres annually. The factory manufactures 4 to 20-inch solid rubber tyres in standard rubber, non-marking rubber and easy-fit configurations, and the company now offers three product ranges; the Tusker threelayer range designed for demanding 24-7 FLT operation in all temperature conditions, the Unicorn two-layer tyre designed for single-shift FLT operations, and Makhna, which Starco describes as “special tyres for special applications.” Starco says its solid rubber FLT tyres are designed and manufactured to give optimal performance and a long service life: “The tread design is configured to

offer the highest net-to-gross ground contact area whilst accommodating the considerable axial stresses to which FLT tyres are subjected during constant tight manoeuvring. The design ensures optimal and safe stability under load, excellent steering precision and a tread which has good self-cleaning capabilities when exposed to muddy or snow-covered terrain.” sg








Construction continues on schedule at Conti’s Sumter site

Nitto racks up 3 million fans So you’ve accumulated a decent amount of ‘friends’ on Facebook, but how many fans do you have? Nitto Tire U.S.A. has more – in fact, the brand has hit the 3 million fan mark. Half a million of these signed on within the last two months. “We have an incredible base of knowledgeable and enthusiastic people who appreciate the innovation and excitement Nitto Tire pursues every day in everything we do,” said Tomo Mizutani, president of Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc. “That spirit is reflected in the incredible support we are seeing through Facebook and the community that has been built by the users of our products.” Nitto boasts that it continues to outrank all other Japanese companies except Sony on Facebook and is now one of the top 2,000 pages overall, rubbing shoulders with brands like Honda, Jeep, and Gatorade. The company adds with a swagger that its fan base “dwarfs that of other tyre companies.” The tyre maker attributes its Facebook success to “unique engagement strategies,” which have included letting fans virtually build and vote for their favourite Nitto-clad car, compelling automotive photography, and a year-long sponsorship of DJ and producer Steve Aoki in 2012. Nitto says it has several exciting fan outreach programmes scheduled for 2013. The Nitto Tire Facebook page, for those in the world still not fans, is sg


Conti celebrates key step towards Sumter plant completion A

SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE in the construction of Continental Tire the Americas’ Sumter plant in South Carolina was reached with the securing of the final beam of the million square foot (93,000 square metre) greenfield plant’s basic structure on 19 February. The tyre maker celebrated the achievement with an event attended by local and state dignitaries, who were given the opportunity to see construction progress first-hand. It is now eleven months since the groundbreaking ceremony at the 330 (134 hectare) acre site was held. “Today’s milestone celebration at Continental Tire puts us one step closer to filling up the middle of South Carolina with tyres,” said South Carolina commerce secretary Bobby Hitt during the ceremony. “There is nothing more satisfying than to see that final steel beam bolted into place. It signifies the progress and commitment of a German tyre powerhouse that has tipped the scales to position South Carolina as the number one tyre producer in the world. We celebrate with Continental today. This is progress, and represents the job opportunity and economic vitality Continental is bringing to South Carolina.” Construction continues on schedule and the plant is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The first pieces of machinery have been delivered and installed, and now await the first production of Continental and General brand passenger and light truck tyres in Sumter. “I would like to congratulate our general contractor, Walbridge-Mashburn, on the significant progress made on key areas of the plant including the mixing, tire building, stock preparation, curing, final finish and warehouse areas,” said


Sumter plant manager Craig Baartman. “In addition, thank you for working hard to ensure we reached today’s key construction milestone of the installation of the final beam in the facility structure. This is quite an accomplishment considering we just began construction at the site this past June.” Production in Sumter is expected to being in early 2014 and will eventually reach a production capacity of some five million units per year by 2017. A second phase is expected to bring the plant’s full production capacity to approximately eight million units per year by 2021. In addition to construction milestones, Conti’s Sumter team continues to work toward meeting recruitment goals as nearly 300 positions are expected to be filled this year. The first employee, a civil engineer, was hired in April 2012, and to date the team has recruited people to fill more than 50 positions. “As construction continues, we will focus on recruiting, training and developing our team to have a workforce ready to build a quality product once the plant opens and production begins,” added Baartman. “Some of the key positions we will recruit for this year include department managers and supervisors, functional support such as finance and IT, and production and technician positions.” Continental says it will continue its partnership with the readySC workforce training programme and Central Carolina Technical College to assist with staffing and training interested candidates. Altogether, Continental Tire the Americas will invest more than $500 million into the Sumter plant and create about 1,600 new jobs. sg


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PREVIEW First published in June 1946, T&A is distributed in the second week of every month by: Tyre Industry Publications Ltd. Unit I, Magnolia Centre Telford Road, Clacton-on-Sea Essex CO 15 4LP, England Telephone: +44 (0)1255 222233 Editorial: +44 (0) 1782 214224 Fax: +44 (0)1255 222234 e-mail: Internet: Correspondence and advertising material should be sent to the above address. Publisher: Klaus Haddenbrock Editor: Christopher Anthony Stephen Goodchild Andrew Bogie Contributing Editor: Peter Gardner Advertising Manager: Alan Day Advertising Sales: Scott Parker Circulation Manager: Julie Wilshaw Editorial office: 6A Salem Street, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire, ST1 5PR Telephone: +44 (0) 1782 214224 Fax: +44 (0) 1782 286589 Contributors: Layout: Heike Schomaker-Eymers Gaby Hinck 2013 Subscription Rate: £65 (UK), £85 (Europe), £120 (R.O.W.) per year. Back issues: £5 per copy. Reg. No: 1023538 England VAT No: 466 0254 53 Bank: National Westminster Bank PLC, 10 Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex CO15 1TA Account No: 70304440 Sort Code: 60 05 33 Printed by: The Magazine Printing Company 1082 Mollison Avenue Brimsdown, Enfield Middlessex EN3 7NT Printed in the UK by The Magazine Printing Company, using only paper fro FSC/PEFC suppliers.

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ORDER CONFIRMATION Once your subscription order has been set up you will receive an email containing your receipted invoice for your records. This shows a summary of your order, payment details, an order reference number and contact details for enquiries.

For any further information please contact Julie Wilshaw at or Telephone 44 (0) 1782 214224 or visit our website at

Tyres & Accessories March 2013  

March's edition of Tyre & Accessories is due to arrive on doorsteps any day now. The virtual version, however, is online now. As well as the...

Tyres & Accessories March 2013  

March's edition of Tyre & Accessories is due to arrive on doorsteps any day now. The virtual version, however, is online now. As well as the...