TOKYO-Japanese tire production will fall 3 percent in 1994 to 147.8 million units, the Japan Tire Manufacturers' Association predicts. The decline, which would be the fifth consecutive since the industry peaked in 1989, follows last year's 7.4-percent shortfall and represents a further shrinkage of the market as the nation's top producers expand operations overseas.
``It largely depends on the yen and on how well the domestic auto market recovers,'' said analyst Michael Remington of S.G. Warburg Securities (Japan) Inc. ``If the yen hits 125 (against the U.S. dollar), Japanese tire companies will be less likely to shift production offshore.'' In 1993, the dollar plunged to its historic low of 110.7 yen.
The weak dollar, a slump in vehicle production and the on-going recession in Japan, caused Japanese tire production to fall to 151.9 million units in 1993.-By Roger Schreffler, Japan correspondent.
Sumitomo, Avon end link up
LONDON-Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. and Avon Rubber Plc., the United Kingdom's lone independent tire maker, have ended their technology and minority ownership links.
The end of the contract, which was revealed Dec. 30, resulted in Avon repurchasing the 30-percent interest Sumitomo had held in Avon's tire division since May 1989.
Avon also sold to Sumitomo the remaining 30-percent share of the 170-store tire distribution chain Motorways Tyres and Accessories Ltd., giving Sumitomo 100-percent control.
Union resists consolidation
FRANKFURT-Continental A.G.'s plan to consolidate its European tire research and development staff in Hanover, Germany, has met resistance from workers at its Uniroyal-Englebert Reifen GmbH and Semperit Reifen GmbH units.
Labor representatives at the facilities in Aachen, Germany, and Traiskirchen, Austria, were upset about the announcement and threatened work stoppages in late February, but management soothed over the differences.