Clinton signs TREAD Act
WASHINGTON—President Clinton has signed the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act into law.
Passed by wide majorities in Congress, the TREAD Act, in part: orders the government to revise the 32-year-old tire safety standard and establish vehicle rollover testing procedures; mandates dashboard indicators to warn motorists of low tire pressure; requires tire and auto executives to notify the government within five days of a foreign safety recall and "customer satisfaction" programs; and sets maximum penalties of 15 years in prison for executives who try to cover up deadly or injurious defects.
Sumitomo buys majority in Ohtsu
TOKYO—Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. has increased its ownership of Ohtsu Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. to 51 percent, making Ohtsu a majority owned subsidiary.
Sumitomo paid approximately $25 million for a block of shares equal to 9.9 percent of Ohtsu's outstanding stock. Sumitomo previously owned 41.1 percent of Ohtsu, and has been Ohtsu's technical assistance partner for decades.
Ohtsu has, for years, made Dunlop-brand tires for Sumitomo.
BFS names ag unit president
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bridgestone/ Firestone Inc. has named Ralph H. Burchfield president of the Firestone Agricultural Tire Co. in Des Moines, Iowa.
Mr. Burchfield succeeds Charles Ramsey, who was appointed president of the company's recently created U.S. Commercial Tire group.
A 30-year veteran of the company, Mr. Burchfield joined Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in 1971 as a management trainee in Cincinnati. He has served as sales manager in West Africa, manager of trade sales and director of sales and marketing in New Zealand and manager of retail stores and strategic planning in Spain.
He joined Firestone Ag in 1994 as export sales manager and became director of sales and marketing a year later.
Pirelli 3rd quarter earnings, sales up
MILAN, Italy—Pirelli S.p.A. reported increased sales and earnings for the third quarter and nine months, but the tire division's margins eroded as rising raw materials prices and flat pricing took their toll.
Pirelli's sales in the quarter grew 19.4 percent, to $1.39 billion, based on 21.3-percent growth in cables and 17.6 percent growth in tires. Tire division operating earnings slipped 8.1 percent, to $35.3 million, dropping the operating margin to 5.3 percent from 6.8 percent a year ago.
For the nine months, tire division sales were up 12.4 percent over 1999, to $2.03 billion, while operating profits were up 3.5 percent. Pirelli said price increases announced recently should help it recover its margins in early 2001.
Cooper launches voluntary recall
FINDLAY, Ohio—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is voluntarily recalling 6,237 tires, size P185/65R14, made at its Texarkana, Ark., plant.
A small number of those tires may have inner liners which are too thin, leading to air loss and early failure, according to the Findlay-based company.
Most of the tires—4,336 in all—were sold under the Pep Boys—Manny, Moe & Jack private label Futura 2000 Radial LTE. The remainder were sold as Cooper Lifeliner Classic II, Mastercraft P794, Del-Nat National XT 5000, Hercules Ultra Plus IV, Dominator Touring MR II and TBC Sigma Regent tires.
FTC approves Wingfoot venture
AKRON—Goodyear's joint venture with Treadco Inc. to create Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems became official Oct. 31 following expiration of the Federal Trade Commission review period.
The agreement combines Treadco operations, Goodyear's commercial tire service centers and Brad Ragan Inc. centers—a total of 194 commercial tire and service centers, 77 retreading plants and about 3,000 associates. Estimated first-year sales are $650 million.
Based in Fort Smith, Ark., Wingfoot will be the world's largest commercial tire and retreading network.
Enkei relaunches wheel program
FORT WORTH, Texas—Enkei International Inc. has secured global rights to the Fittipaldi custom wheel program and will relaunch the product early next year, said Jeff Bailey, national brand sales director.
Enkei, the Fort Worth-based aftermarket distribution subsidiary of Japan's Enkei Group, will offer one- and three-piece versions of the Fittipaldi wheel, initially in 17-, 18- and 19-inch sizes, he said.
The Fittipaldi program was first launched in the 1980s by former Formula 1 and CART Indy Car champion Emerson Fittipaldi.