ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—Big O Tires Inc. has opened a new ``Big O University'' training center inside a newly built store in Littleton, Colo. The store features a second-floor training center to accommodate up to 60 trainees and four of the store's 10 bays are dedicated to training. The outlet's design replicates the ``I-Plan'' used for new Big O stores, ``thus giving new franchise owners a true-to-life feel of what it takes to operate a Big O location,'' the company said.
The new facility replaces the Big O University in Mesa, Ariz., and is used to train new franchise owners and current employees and owners.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Eugene Culler Jr., Goodyear's executive vice president for North American Tires, will be the keynote speaker at the International Tire & Rubber Association's 40th World Tire Conference and Exhibition.
Mr. Culler was named to his current post in 1995 after serving as president and CEO of Goodyear's Canadian subsidiary.
For more information on the conference, to be held April 16-19 in Louisville, contact the ITRA, P.O. Box 37203, Louisville, Ky. 40233-7203; (800) 426-8835 or (502) 968-8900.
AKRON—Goodyear and Bridgestone Corp. are setting up stakes in South Africa now that the country has ended its apartheid policy of race discrimination.
Goodyear will return Jan. 1 when it acquires a 60-percent stake in tire and engineered rubber products maker Contred Ltd. for $121 million. Goodyear plans to invest $20 million during the next 18 months to upgrade and modernize the facility.
Goodyear sold the tire operation in 1989 for $45 million during a period when companies were pulling out of South Africa due to its apartheid policy.
Meanwhile, Bridgestone is buying 100-percent control of the holding company that owns Firestone South Africa (Pty.) Ltd. for about $61.9 million.
Firestone South Africa was once a wholly owned subsidiary of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., which sold its remaining stake in the unit in 1987.
AKRON—Hoping to protect itself and its customers from ``volatile'' natural rubber prices and supply, Goodyear said it is expanding capacity for synthetic polymers at its Beaumont, Texas, facility.
The $14 million expansion will allow Goodyear to produce about 10,000 metric tons of a synthetic polymer—trade named Natsyn—which can provide a lower-cost alternative to natural rubber when market forces drive rubber costs up, Goodyear said.
Natsyn also is easier to process, cures at a more uniform rate and is free of proteins found in natural rubber, the firm added.
Goodyear said it expects natural rubber shortfalls during the next decade due to increased global tire production.NASHUA, N.H.—ASA Tire Systems completed the asset purchase of Progressive Computer Systems Inc., a Kirkland, Wash.-based competitor, Nov. 15.
With the purchase, ASA assumes the rights to develop and market TirePro, Progressive's main tire dealer software package. ASA also markets its TireMax 2000 dealer software.
AKRON—TIRE BUSINESS will increase the price of a one-year subscription to $57 and a two-year subscription to $104 starting in January. One-year subscriptions will be $81 in Canada and $78 in Mexico and other foreign countries. The single copy rate remains $3.50.
TIRE BUSINESS' next issue will be Jan. 6 and will include a review of the tire industry newsmakers, milestones and highlights of 1996.