Falken revs it up with driving event
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.-Falken Tire Corp. and Mazda USA are presenting the ``Rev It Up'' tour, a promotional driving event running from March through July.
``Rev It Up'' will visit 15 different venues on 20 different weekends and host classroom instruction and driving competition, with the winner gaining national recognition and a new Mazda 6.
Falken said it expects more than 80,000 people to attend these events.
Pirelli to outfit Olive Garden race car
ORLANDO, Fla.-Team Olive Garden has selected Pirelli's P Zero racing tires for the Ferrari 550 Maranello GTS it is supporting in the American LeMans Series.
Pirelli and the Italian restaurant chain also partnered with two Ferrari 333 SPs in the 1999 racing series.
Olive Garden sponsors the series as part of its ``Drive Against Hunger'' program. The restaurant chain donates to food banks in each city in the racing circuit. Also, for every lap the Team Olive Garden completes, the company donates dinners to families in that city.
RMA honors plants for safety
WASHINGTON-The Rubber Manufacturers Association recognized 77 tire and rubber manufacturing facilities for improvements in worker health and safety in the past year.
The Safety and Health Improvement Program (SHIP) awards were presented at the RMA's annual meeting last month in Palm Springs, Calif. The awards, which were begun in 1981, are in two categories: excellence and improved. Excellence marks facilities that had an incidence rate 75 percent better than the average of other plants.
Among the ``excellence'' winners were plants operated by Bridgestone/Firestone, Pirelli Tire North America Inc., Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Titan International Inc.
Pirelli said its improved safety record was spurred by its Modular Integrated Roboticized System (MIRS), which replaces traditional hand-fabricated tire production and makes a new tire in about three minutes.
A complete list of the winning plants is available on the RMA's Web site, www.rma.org.
Michelin to invest in Okla. plant
ARDMORE, Okla.-Michelin North America Inc. has budgeted $144 million over five years to boost capacity at its Ardmore tire plant for making larger diameter passenger and light truck tires, 16-, 17- and 18-inch sizes.
The investment is contingent upon Michelin's receiving a state-funded incentive package, the company said. The project will include a physical expansion at the facility.
The Greenville, S.C.-based tire maker now has a pending investment of $200 million at the 34-year-old plant. The project will allow the Ardmore facility-which makes Uniroyal- and BFGoodrich-brand radial and bias-ply passenger and light truck tires-to produce Michelin tires as well. The site serves both the original equipment and replacement markets.
Arnco to supply Bobcat SuperFlex
BALDWIN, N.Y.-Arnco and Bobcat Co. have agreed to offer Bobcat skid steer loader tires filled with Arnco's SuperFlex polyurethane flat-proofing material as optional equipment.
The companies will offer SuperFlex for Bobcat heavy-duty tires and Bobcat severe tires with the purchase or rental of all Bobcat Skid steer loader models. Bobcat dealers and rental outlets can fill the tires themselves, purchase SuperFlex-filled wheel assemblies from Bobcat, order them as a factory-installed option on a new machine, or have the wheel assemblies filled at an Arnco certified dealer.
Arnco also will be working with Bobcat dealers to ensure they have sufficient material, training and support, as well as offering dealers retreading capabilities.
Falken sponsors Pikes Peak race
RANCHO CUCAMONGO, Calif.-Factory Tuned, the premium performance products division of Falken Tire Corp., signed on as an official sponsor for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year.
The division is joined by its parent company, which signed on as the title sponsor for three years.
``We see Pikes Peak as a great tool for us,'' said Darren Thomas, director of marketing for Falken Tire. ``Pikes Peak is all about power and style, control and speed. These are the elements we offer with Factory Tuned...We plan on being very competitive in the marketplace, and I believe this partnership shows that commitment.''
The 2003 race is from June 22-28 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The event has been run on the slopes of the 14,110-foot mountain since 1916.
Companies offer `mudder tire'
FINDLAY, Ohio-Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. and Dirt Gripz Inc. have teamed up to offer Hercules dealers and distributors a branded ``mudder tire'' program.
The Parnelli Jones Dirt Grip on/off-road light truck radial-marketed by Akron-based Dirt Gripz-will become, Hercules said, another addition to its dealers' ``broad line of competitive and profitable branded programs,'' noting ``mudder tires'' are ``the hottest trend'' for street and off-road driving.
The tire-named for famed race driver and, later, tire dealership owner Parnelli Jones-``is ideal for extreme terrain conditions,'' Hercules said. It offers aggressive on/off road performance and style, aided by a ``distinctive `PJ' tread,'' beefy lug design and wide footprint that provides ``outstanding traction while maintaining a quiet ride and long mileage on road,'' the company added.
Manufactured by Denman Tire Corp., the tires are six- and 10-ply rated and available in 21 sizes.
Goodyear, TRW partner on study
AKRON-Goodyear has signed a five-year agreement with TRW Automotive to jointly study tires, braking, suspension and steering systems in order to boost product development for auto makers.
Under the agreement, Goodyear will share its design integration and manufacturing knowledge in conventional and extended mobility tires, plus its engineered rubber products such as airsprings, bushings and mountings. The tire maker also will share information about functional areas related to ride, handling, traction, wear, noise and vibration.
In turn, Livonia, Mich.-based TRW will share design and engineering knowledge of advanced braking, steering and suspension systems, including how the company uses the technology to improve braking and performance.
Pirelli gains Dodge, BMW OE fitments
ROME, Ga.-Pirelli Tire North America Inc. has snagged the original equipment fitment for the new Viper-powered Dodge Ram SRT-10.
The Ram SRT-10 boasts the automotive industry's largest engine in a factory pickup truck-an 8.3 liter V-10 that churns out 500 horsepower. The truck will be shod with 305/40R22 114W XL high-performance Pirelli Scorpion Zeros, which the tire maker said are some of the largest tires it builds.
The Scorpion Zeros will be the first SUV tires produced at Pirelli's new Rome, Ga., factory using its automated MIRS (Modular Integrated Roboticized System) technology.
Meanwhile, Pirelli P Zero Rossos will outfit the latest wheels offered by AC Schnitzer, a German tuner enhancement supplier, for the BMW 7 Series. The Schnitzer 7 Series comes exclusively with 10.5-inch by 22-inch Type II alloy wheels that will be fitted with Pirelli sizes 265/30ZR22 on the front and 295/25ZR22 on the rear.
QDS creates Web-based seminars
BOISE, Idaho-Quality Design Systems (QDS) Inc., a provider of business information solutions to the tire and automotive service industries, has created a Web seminar series for tire dealers.
The monthly online series is designed to be an interactive forum for dealers to learn about issues affecting business in a challenging economy, QDS said. Topics range from Internet security to improving customer service. Each seminar is free and expected to last less than a half-hour, according to Boise-based QDS.
Upcoming seminars include:
* Internet security-looks at some security threats to businesses, including viruses, hackers and internal human error, plus ways to protect data.
* The customer experience-shows dealers ways to inspire trust in their customers and to sell additional needed services.
* Customer retention-explores ways dealers can differentiate themselves from their competition to win repeat customers.
For more details about the seminars, click on www.qds-solutions.com.
Midas reports mixed earnings
ITASCA, Ill.-As it continues to restructure, auto service provider Midas Inc. reported a net loss of $5 million for the fourth quarter and earnings of $4.5 million for the year, excluding special charges.
Those charges, which total $62.3 million for 2002, are related to restructuring costs, including $26.3 million for the write-down of inventories associated with the sale and disposition of the firm's Parts Warehouse Inc. quick-delivery distribution operation. After a fourth-quarter 2002 decision to exit the PWI business, Midas has closed 17 PWI sites in 2003 and is in the process of selling another 19 locations. After the sales, Midas said it will operate 41 PWI sites, down from 77.
Midas expects to be out of the quick-delivery business by year's end, by which time it would have sold or closed the remaining 41 PWI sites.
Another $3.3 million of the special charges are from the firm's plans to close three of its remaining 12 wholesale distribution centers in 2003.
Including the charges, Midas reported a net loss of $40.4 million for the quarter and a net loss of $33.6 million for the year.
Sales in the fourth quarter were down to $74.8 million from $79.4 million in 2001, primarily because of lower wholesale product sales, Midas reported. For the year, sales were up slightly to $333.0 million from $331.5 million.
In 2002, Midas also began a program to sell tires at its more than 2,000 franchise outlets nationwide. TBC Corp. agreed to supply the tires.