Goodyear Mexico closes tire plant
MEXICO CITY-Goodyear Mexico closed its tire manufacturing plant in Tultitlan, Mexico, April 6, stating that its high costs are incompatible with current economic conditions.
A spokesman said the company regretted having to make that decision and had made intense efforts and significant investments to improve productivity in recent years. The spokesman said the company also is hoping to transfer some employees affected by this measure to other facilities.
Goodyear Mexico's decision affects 1,559 employees, who the company said will receive severance payments mandated by Mexican law. The plant opened in 1941.
Goodyear will supply products in Mexico from other locations in North America, Latin America and Europe. The plant made passenger, light and medium truck and farm tires. Capacity was 20,000 units per day.
Restructuring hurts Conti's earnings
HANOVER, Germany-One-time restructuring-related costs of $55 million ate into Continental A.G.'s earnings last year, leaving the company's operating and net profits below the fiscal 1999 performance.
Conti's sales grew 10.8 percent last year, to $9.32 billion, largely due to the growth of its automotive systems group. Operating profits fell 15.5 percent to $398.2 million, while the net result was down 12.8 percent to $188.9 million.
Restructuring costs were related primarily to the closing of a Uniroyal passenger tire plant in Newbridge, Scotland, Continental said. Adding to the bottom line problems were rising raw materials costs and a ``very unsatisfactory'' year experienced by the company's controlled distribution chains in Europe.
Continental Tire North America increased sales by 2.4 percent-when adjusted for currency fluctuations-to $1.63 billion, the Germany-based parent said. Each of Continental's tire operations-passenger and commercial vehicle tires in Europe, and Conti North America-recorded ``pleasing growth'' in unit sales.
TANA pushes dealer program
RESTON, Va.-In an effort to recruit more dealers, the Tire Association of North America is pushing ahead with its Ambassador Program.
Don Olson, founder of Don Olson Tire in Clearwater, Fla., and a member of TANA's Tire Industry Hall of Fame, is leading the program that currently has 130 ambassadors.
Ambassadors act as a liaison between tire dealers and TANA, helping to distribute information about the organization as well as increase membership, currently at 3,500.
BFS launches safety Web site
PHOENIX, Ariz.-Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. has launched a safety-oriented Web site, Tire-Safety.com, offering consumers the opportunity to sign up for an e-mail notification service that reminds them to check their tire pressure regularly.
``Proper tire inflation is one of the most important elements of vehicle maintenance, yet checking tire pressure is one area of vehicle care that is often overlooked,'' said Shu Ishibashi, executive vice president of BFS and president of the firm's U.S. Tire Group.
``Many cars and light trucks manufactured today have much longer intervals between maintenance checks than their predecessors of just a few years ago,'' said Michael Fluck, e-business & Internet manager for Bridgestone/Firestone.
Bridgestone/Firestone-swamped in the past nine months by negative publicity related to its recall of 6.5 million P-metric light truck tires-plans to make TireSafety.- com the most comprehensive tire safety site on the Internet.
``Whether you're a serious gearhead with a passion for performance or a casual driver with considerably less interest in all things automotive,'' Mr. Fluck said, ``TireSafety.com will be a resource of useful information which we hope will contribute to improved highway safety and save consumers dollars in both fuel and tire costs.''
Skilled labor tax credit proposed
WASHINGTON-A bipartisan group of congressmen has introduced a bill to give small businesses a tax credit for training employees.
The Skilled Workforce Enhancement Act of 2001 offers employers with 250 or fewer workers a tax credit of up to $15,000 a year for up to four years for providing an apprentice with at least 1,500 hours of job training in a ``highly skilled'' trade. The credit, in turn, would go toward long-term employee training.
Groups such as the Tire Association of North America and the Automotive Service Association, which have often decried the lack of skilled auto and tire technicians, support the legislation. The bill was introduced March 6 by Reps. Mark Foley, R-Fla., and Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., with 29 co-sponsors. No hearings have yet been scheduled, although Sens. Michael DeWine, R-Ohio, and Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., are supposed to introduce a companion bill in the Senate.