ESSEN, Germany-In a move unlikely to be duplicated in the U.S., British retreader Technic Group P.L.C. has closed its truck tire retreading plant (both mold cure and precure) in Wellington, England, after only about six months in production, and has decided to focus on passenger tire retreading. According to CEO Peter Webber, Technic underestimated the extent of after-sales service needed to be successful in commercial tire retreading.
At the same time, the company is close to completing the renovation of its Wellington facility, which was damaged by fire earlier this year. The project will raise the firm's passenger retreading capacity 25 percent to more than 70,000 units a week.
Bridgestone opens test center
BANGKOK, Thailand-Bridgestone Corp. subsidiary Thai Bridgestone Co. Ltd. has opened a tire proving ground at the site of its tire plant in Nong Khae, Thailand, 50 miles north of Bangkok.
The Thai test center is Bridgestone's seventh worldwide and its first in Asia outside Japan. Features of the Nong Khae proving ground include high-speed performance testing facilities-a 1.5-mile circuit and a high-speed slalom course-and a variety of test surfaces that simulate the wide range of driving conditions in Thailand.
The company has three proving grounds in North America (Fort Stockton, Texas, Columbiana, Ohio, and Acu¤a, Mexico) all operated by Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.
Russian venture goes on line
ESSEN, Germany-Matador Omskshina, the 51-49 joint venture between Slovakia's Matador A.S. and Russia's Omskshina, started production of radial passenger tires at its new plant near Omsk, Russia, in early May, nearly six months ahead of schedule.
The plant, which had a construction budget of $130 million, eventually will have annual capacity to produce 1.2 million passenger tires and several hundred thousand truck tires-intended for the Russian market.