Michelin expanding Laurens test site
LAURENS, S.C.-Michelin North America Inc. is expanding the tire testing facilities at its Laurens Proving Grounds.
Through its Michelin Americas Research and Development Corp. unit, the tire maker has purchased 243 acres adjacent to the proving grounds where it will build a new test track for evaluating drift pull in tire vehicle combinations, a company spokeswoman said.
The new track will be used to test passenger, light truck and some heavy truck tires.
Michelin acquired the land for just under $1 million, expanding the test facility to about 3,000 acres.
Ground breaking for the new construction will take place in April with the new facilities ready for use in the first quarter of 2004.
The Laurens Proving Grounds consists of more than a dozen special tracks that simulate the entire spectrum of driving conditions and road hazards.
Federal-Mogul posts $1.6 billion loss
SOUTHFIELD, Mich.-Federal-Mogul Corp., which has operated under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since October 2001, reported a net loss for 2002 of $1.63 billion after a $1.42 billion charge for a cumulative effect of change in accounting.
This compares with a loss of $1 billion in 2001. Sales for 2002 decreased less than 1 percent to $5.4 billion, the Southfield-based company said.
For the fourth quarter, the global supplier of automotive components and systems, including Wagner Brakes, Moog Chassis Parts and National Auto Seals, reported a net loss of $113 million on sales that remained relatively flat at $1.29 billion. During the last quarter of 2001, Federal-Mogul posted a $112 million loss.
AAA unit offers Cooper discounts
TAMPA, Fla.-AAA Auto Club South and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. have teamed up to offer AAA members in Florida, Georgia and the western two-thirds of Tennessee a 10-percent discount on their next tire purchase.
AAA members receive the discount on any Cooper tire purchased at a participating AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, or at any participating Cooper Tire dealer. Members simply need to show their AAA membership card to receive the deal.
Bridgestone debuts Ferrari Enzo site
NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp. has launched a Web site dedicated to the Ferrari Enzo, which is factory equipped with Bridgestone tires.
The Web site-www.forzarossa-bridgestone.com-is part of a systematic program of global branding for the Bridgestone Group, according to Bridgestone/Firestone.
That program provides for establishing the Bridgestone name as a worldwide corporate identity for the group while continuing to promote products under the Bridgestone, Firestone and other brands, the company said.
Ferrari equips the Enzo exclusively with Bridgestone tires. On the race track, BFS said the partnership between the two companies has produced four consecutive constructors' championships in Formula One competition.
Smithers revamps into three units
AKRON-Smithers Scientific Services Inc. has reorganized its activities as a result of an acquisition last year of a company specializing in environmental toxicology and analytical studies.
The organization comprises three independent companies operating under a new corporate name-Smithers Group.
The Group's three units include: Smithers Scientific Services, a testing, research and consulting firm for the tire, rubber, plastics, chemical and automotive industries; Smithers Quality Assessments, a third-party registrar providing quality and environmental system certification services to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and other standards; and Springborn Smithers Laboratories, a contract research and regulatory compliance firm for the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and chemical industries.
Tire Rack renews race sponsorship
TOPEKA, Kan.-Tire Rack has renewed its sponsorship of the Tire Rack Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Solo program for another three years, with an option for two additional years.
South Bend, Ind.-based Tire Rack, an online and mail-order source for performance tires, wheels and other accessories, will continue as the title sponsor of the program, which was started in 2000.
The company will receive an increased presence on the SCCA Web site, expanded event signage and an improved advertising campaign.
In solo racing, competitors race one at a time against the clock, either on a track (Solo I) or around a temporary course set up on a parking lot or other large paved surface (Solo II), the SCCA said. There are classes for both street and race cars. The ProSolo series features side-by-side competition on mirror image courses.
Topeka-based SCCA is a 65,000-member motorsports organization.
Kumho to supply driving school
FONTANA, Calif.-Kumho Tire USA will be the official tire supplier of TrackTime Performance Driving School in 2003.
Kumho will provide its ultra-high performance ECSTA MX tires for TrackTime's fleet of BMW Z3s. The ECSTA MX is an ultra-high performance passenger tire that is based on Kumho's Victoracer V700 competition tire.
TrackTime operates schools at some of the country's leading race tracks, including Michigan International Speedway, Road America, Watkins Glen International, Sebring, Virginia International Raceway and Putnam Park.
Students drive BMW Z3s that are outfitted with racing suspensions and brakes, roll cages, racing seats and harnesses, performance exhaust systems and 17-inch wheels fitted with Kumho ECSTA MX tires, size 225/45R17.
Kumho also has launched a Web site that offers consumers a tire selector guide, safety and tire care tips, warranty information, a primary and associate dealer locator and a ``frequently asked questions'' section.
The site also offers dealers an online marketing vault-an electronic asset management program for cataloging and organizing all of Kumho's marketing and merchandising support materials, according to Mike Leverington, Kumho's director of marketing.
Auto sport group selects Toyo
RICHMOND, Calif.-Toyo has been selected as the official tire of the National Auto Sport Association (NASA).
As part of the Toyo Tire (USA) Corp.-NASA relationship, the Toyo Proxes RA-1 will be the spec tire for American Iron, Spec Miata Challenge, Honda Challenge, the United States Touring Car Challenge and the Camaro-Mustang Challenge.
The Cypress, Calif.-based tire maker-a subsidiary of Japan's Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd.-also will be involved with NASA's Hyperfest lifestyle events as a Spec Miata race sponsor and be the spec tire for other NASA racing classes.
The RA-1's ``long life and consistent excellent performance make it a perfect tire for NASA racers and HPDE drivers,'' the NASA said.
The organization said Toyo has been a long-time supporter of NASA's programs and the latest announcement ``reflects the strengthening of the relationship for 2003.''
Michelin to outfit first Porsche SUV
GREENVILLE, S.C.-With Porsche A.G.'s entrance into the sport-utility vehicle market, Michelin North America Inc. is expanding its relationship with the sports-car maker.
Michelin's 20-inch Diamaris tire will outfit the Porsche Cayenne S and Turbo, which are due to hit car dealerships this spring. Michelin said the tire is rated to 180 mph on the SUV that can reach 165 mph, but the tires still have the handling, traction and load capacity of other SUV tires.
The Cayenne is somewhat unique because it will run on standard radials but will not include a spare tire. Other OE tires for the vehicle are the Pirelli Scorpion AT, Scorpion Zero and P-Zero Rosso tires in sizes from 17 to 19 inches; and the Bridgestone Turanza ER30 in Y-rated 18-inch and V-rated 17-inch sizes.
Michelin also supplies Pilot Sport performance tires for Porsche vehicles including the 911, GT2, GT3 and Boxster.