Yokohama plans Chinese venture
TOKYO-Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. is planning a $30 million radial passenger tire joint venture in China with Hangzhou Rubber (Group) Co., with a start-up capacity of 750,000 tires a year beginning in April 2003.
Yokohama said Nov. 2 it had obtained permission from the Chinese government to set up the venture, to be called Hangzhou Yokohama Tire Co. Ltd. The venture will employ a ``small-lot production system'' developed by Yokohama.
Sales operations, handled up to now by an affiliate of Yokohama's YHI Holdings Pte. Ltd. subsidiary in Singapore, are due to start in January 2002, Yokohama said.
Pirelli S.p.A.'s tire sales fall
MILAN-Pirelli S.p.A.'s tire division saw sales slide 10.1 percent in the third quarter, to $587.3 million, leaving sales revenue for the nine-month period about 1 percent behind a year ago at $1.91 billion.
Gross operating earnings for the tire business slid 9.1 percent to $509.4 million, Pirelli said, as exchange rate differences and selling prices offset volume increases.
A bright spot for the company has been its success in high-performance tires, aftermarket sales of which are running 16 percent ahead of 2000, Pirelli said.
In general, original equipment sales of both passenger/light truck and medium truck tires have been down, whereas replacement sales have up marginally.
Overall, Pirelli S.p.A. reported operating income on par with 2000, while sales rose 4.9 percent, to $5.1 billion.
Titan to continue racketeering suit
SPRINGFIELD, Ill.-A racketeering lawsuit filed more than a year ago against the United Steelworkers union by Titan International Inc.-and thought to be dropped with the settlement of strikes at the company's tire plants-may be moving forward instead.
Maurice Taylor Jr., Titan CEO and president, said he plans to proceed with the suit, which claims there was an ``ongoing pattern of criminal racketeering activities'' during long strikes at the company's Des Moines, Iowa, and Natchez, Miss., tire facilities.
The original $240 million suit-filed in September 2000 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois in Springfield-was brought against the USWA; several of its district offices; 130 individuals, including its now-former president, officers and many members; and 100 ``John Doe'' defendants.
The suit was to be dropped as the result of the settlement of the two strikes, as were other legal actions taken during the labor dispute. But Mr. Taylor said he was going to proceed based on two factors: the lack of a new contract in Natchez and the denial of the defendants' motions to dismiss the claims against them.
RMA wants load capacity minimum
WASHINGTON-A minimum tire reserve load capacity requirement is vitally necessary in any tire pressure monitoring rule, the Rubber Manufacturers Association has told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
NHTSA's definition of underinflation in the proposed rule ``would allow, in many cases, pressures insufficient to carry the load on the tire,'' RMA President Donald B. Shea told the agency in a docket submission supplementing the association's original comments.
Goodyear Fortera garners award
LAS VEGAS-Goodyear's new Fortera HL tire for sport-utility vehicles received Popular Mechanics' ``Editor's Choice'' award for new products at the Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo in Las Vegas.
The Fortera HL, described by Goodyear as its quietest SUV tire to date, is targeted at owners of luxury and crossover SUVs (those built on a passenger car chassis) who want tires offering riding comfort, precise handling and ultra quietness, said Steve Myers, marketing manager for Goodyear light truck tires.
Conti mulls plant closure in Mexico
HANOVER, Germany-Continental A.G. may be forced to close one of its two tire plants in Mexico unless losses there can be reversed, the company said.
Company spokesmen said no decision has been made, but acknowledged the firm is reviewing all aspects of the Mexican business, as well as its commercial truck tire operations in Europe and some of its non-tire assets.
Continental has an estimated one-third market share in Mexico, with its Continental, General and Euzkadi brands. It has plants in Guadalajara and San Luis Potosi, Mexico.