Michelin hiking truck tire prices
GREENVILLE, S.C.-Michelin Americas Truck Tires said it plans to increase prices on new Michelin brand truck tires sold in the U.S. replacement market by an average of 4.5 percent.
The new pricing takes effect Feb. 1, 2003, according to Michelin North America Inc.
The Greenville-based tire maker also announced its Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. unit will increase prices on retreading products by an average of 3.75 percent.
ATD to expand Midwest centers
CHARLOTTE, N.C.-American Tire Distributors (ATD) said it plans to expand coverage in the Midwest by opening a new distribution center in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Charlotte-based wholesaler said a leased 70,000-sq.-ft. facility in Des Moines is expected to begin serving customers in February 2003.
The company also announced plans to open two new distribution facilities and close another.
It has broken ground on 60,000-sq.-ft. distribution centers in Springfield, Mo., and Mobile, Ala. Existing warehouses in those cities will relocated to the new facilities, with operations starting by the end of the second quarter of 2003.
The Midwest expansion is part of ATD's goal, it said, to become the nation's most complete network of distribution centers coast to coast.
ATD also will close its Lexington, Ky., distribution center. Dealers in that state will be served by warehouses the company operates in Louisville, Ky., Knoxville and Johnson City, Tenn., and Charleston, W. Va.
Lawrence Stoddard will oversee operations for the region. ATD, formerly Heafner Tire Group Inc., operates 62 distribution centers serving 35 states.
Mohawk Rubber buys Italmatic-Pro
HINGHAM, Mass.-Mohawk Rubber Sales in Hingham, a distributor of tire shop supplies and retread equipment, has purchased Italmatic-Pro, a retread equipment and materials distribution center in Alpharetta, Ga.
The deal came about, according to Mohawk, when Italmatic-Pro owner Alan Rubenstein decided to retire and approached Patrick McGeoghegan, Mohawk Rubber Sales president, about Mohawk buying the company.
Italmatic-Pro specialized in servicing mostly the tire retreading industry, according to Mr. Rubenstein, while Mohawk sells a full-range of products to tire dealers and repair shops.
Mr. Rubenstein's son Darryl will remain as the distribution center's office manager, and Mohawk said most of Italmatic-Pro's employees have remained on staff. Italmatic-Pro was established in 1978 in Atlanta as Pro Tire Supply.
CAFE standards may be raised
WASHINGTON-The Bush administration has endorsed a plan to raise the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for light trucks and sport-utility vehicles 1.5 mpg-to 22.2 mpg from 20.7-by the 2007 model year.
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said the standards would save 2.5 billion gallons of gasoline their first year, but environmentalists insisted the administration was being too easy on the auto industry.
Original equipment tire suppliers couldn't be reached for comment, and the Rubber Manufacturers Association said fuel economy issues were taking a back burner at the association to the Transportation Recall Efficiency, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act.
Kumho tire sale talks break down
SEOUL, South Korea-Kumho Industrial Co. Ltd. is back to square one regarding its Kumho Tire unit after negotiations with an investors' consortium involving JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Carlyle Group broke down, reportedly over the sale price.
The companies had signed a memorandum of understanding in February and had expected to close the deal in November. Kumho reportedly had sought up to $1.5 billion for an 80-percent ownership stake in the tire business.
Korean media reported the first week of December that the South Korean military pension fund had approached Kumho about buying into the company.
Separately, Kumho Industrial reported net earnings of $21.8 million for the nine months ended June 30 on sales of $1.5 billion. The profit contrasts with a loss of more than $57 million a year earlier.
TIA opens OTR meeting registration
RESTON, Va.-Registration has opened for the Tire Industry Association's first Off-the-Road Tire Conference since the group's merger earlier this year.
The conference is scheduled for Feb. 20-22 at the Pointe South Mountain Resort in Phoenix.
TIA, based in Reston, said the conference is aimed at boosting profitability in the tire industry's OTR segment. Last year's event drew about 330 participants representing 115 companies. The annual conference had previously been organized by the Tire Association of North America, which merged July 1 with the International Tire & Rubber Association to form TIA.
The conference will feature two keynote speakers: Manny Cicero, president of Bridgestone/Firestone's Off-Road Tire Co., will present an update of the industry; and author Oren Harari will review business and management leadership techniques.
Other events include a golf tournament and two evening receptions. To register, call TIA at (800) 876-8372 or (703) 736-8082.
Trucking exec to lead Conti division
HANNOVER, Germany-Continental A.G. has appointed Martien de Louw, previously with DAF Trucks in Europe, to the company's executive board responsible for the passenger tire division, effective Feb. 1.
Initially he will be based at Continental Tire North America Inc. headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.
Mr. de Louw, 56, will take over responsibility for the passenger tire business from Conti Chairman Manfred Wennemer, who has overseen the division, in addition to his other duties, since January 2002.
At that time, Continental revamped its tire division's corporate structure into two global reporting units, one for passenger/light truck and one for commercial tires.
Mr. de Louw, a native of the Netherlands, is leaving DAF after 30 years with the truck maker, which is a subsidiary of the Paccar Group. There he is a board member in charge of DAF Truck.
RMA praises Ohio liability reform bill
COLUMBUS, Ohio-The Rubber Manufacturers Association has publicly praised the Ohio Legislature for passing a bill reforming the joint-and-several liability concept in product liability lawsuits.
Under the provisions of the bill-which has gone to Bob Taft, Ohio's Republican governor, for signing-defendants in product liability suits who are judged to be less than 50 percent responsible for a product failure may not be forced to pay the entire amount of damages.
``This is common-sense legislation,'' said RMA State Legislative Manager John Falardeau in a press release. More than two-thirds of U.S. states have passed similar legislation, he added.
SmarTire, Visteon sign supply pact
RICHMOND, British Columbia-In anticipation of coming tire monitoring requirements under the TREAD Act, SmarTire Systems Inc. and Tier 1 supplier Visteon Corp. finalized a partnership to supply tire monitoring systems to auto makers.
Under the agreement, Visteon will have manufacturing rights to some SmarTire products that will be presented to auto makers to comply with TREAD Act regulations starting in late 2003. The companies also will jointly look into other possibilities, such as the commercial vehicle market, Richmond-based SmarTire said. The two had been working together since May under a memorandum of understanding.
Study: Drivers want safety features
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.-Even more than digital sound and in-vehicle Internet, drivers want tire pressure monitors and run-flat tires on their cars, according to a J.D. Power and Associates study.
Tire pressure monitors came in first out of 25 emerging vehicle features addressing safety, comfort, convenience and entertainment, J.D. Power found in its 2002 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study.
About 88 percent of the 22,362 drivers polled were interested in the monitors, which are mandated by the TREAD Act for all new cars and light trucks made after Nov. 1, 2003. Under the act's requirements, as many as 1.7 million 2004 model-year cars will be equipped with the monitoring systems.
Run-flat tires ranked fourth with 77 percent, behind anti-whiplash seats, which captivated 80 percent of respondents, and night vision systems, which got the nod from 79 percent.