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Back to business action in Europe

By John Stone

New product launches and opening of new production plants have kept tyre manufacturers busy in Europe, highlighting an eagerness to sustain the positive momentum that the early 2014 witnessed. The pace of the business action is generally seen as a sign of better things to happen in the coming months after the 2013 lull.

As we stride towards the end of the second quarter of 2014, once again there has been a lot of interesting developments within the various tyre markets around Europe. Continental-StraddleMaster400

First of all let us concentrate on the major A brand manufacturers and Michelin has launched its all-new X Multi D truck pattern which has been specifically manufactured for the 17.5 inch drive axle commercial vehicle market sector and in particular middle weight trucks and midi coaches. The tyre has also been produced with benefits to provide improved safety, enhanced fuel efficiency, lower noise and enhanced tread wear.

Michelin has also reported that having introduced its new Latitude Sport 3 tyre range for SUV Crossover models earlier this year. The pattern has proved extremely successful in this niche after-market sector and has also been approved for original equipment fitment on a number of SUV vehicles including the new Porsche Macan, BMX X5 and Volvo XC90.

Continental has announced that its Commercial Speciality Tire Unit has just launched the new V.ply Port range which incorporates Continental’s revolutionary V.ply technology and will now be available for their StraddleMaster, ContainerMaster, DockMaster and CraneMaster tyre ranges. These extremely tough tyres have been specifically developed to cope with the demanding conditions in today’s Freight Ports and provide high resistance to damage, low rolling resistance and longer life along with a greater sidewall thickness to deal with higher payloads for vehicles with dead weight that need to turn on the spot or change direction frequently.

Firestone Europe has introduced its new Destination HP tyre which is exclusively targeting drivers of City Crossover vehicles and small to medium size SUV’s. The Destination HP pattern offers benefits such as ‘best in class’ mileage return, wet grip, a high performance tread pattern and superb handling in all conditions. It is now available throughout Europe in ten size options for 16 and 17 inch rims.

Meanwhile Pirelli SpA in Milan has posted its full year financial report for 2013 which announced a 1.2 per cent increase on 2012 with tyre sales accounting for virtually all the company’s sales totalling Euros 6,115.8 million an increase of 1.4 per cent on the previous year. At the same time leading Russian oil company – Rosneft has acquired a significant 50 per cent shareholding in Pirelli’s Holding Group and a 13 per cent share of Pirelli itself. This development makes Rosneft the largest single shareholder in the Pirelli business.

It has also been a very busy period for mid-range manufacturer Nexen who have confirmed its intention to build a new tyre production plant in the Czech Republic with an estimated investment of US$ 800 million. The new facility will be constructed in Nosovice in the east of the country and no definite time scale or completion date has been confirmed at the moment.

Nexen also showcased its complete product portfolio at the Reifen Show in Essen. Germany, which includes their current summer, SUV and winter tyre ranges along with several concept and project tyre patterns. Hankook has announced it will be constructing a second greenfield tyre manufacturing facility adjacent to its its current production plant in Racalmas, Hungary. The additional factory will manufacture ultra high performance tyres for sale on a global basis.

Full Article in PTA June/July issue

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