More tire price hikes coming
AKRON-Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp. and Michelin North America Inc. are raising tire prices.
Toyo is hiking prices on all of its tires by 4 percent effective Feb. 1. The increases affect the company's passenger, light truck, medium truck and off-the-road tires, said Earl Knoper, Toyo vice president. He attributed the price hikes to the rising costs of doing business.
Toyo last raised prices June 1, when it boosted the price of its consumer and commercial tires by up to 4 percent.
Michelin is raising prices March 1 on Michelin-brand passenger and light truck tires by as much as 5 percent, and on BFGoodrich, Uniroyal and private and associate brands by up to 6 percent. Michelin and BFGoodrich commercial truck tire prices will rise by up to 6 percent.
The firm also is boosting prices 5 percent for earthmover tires and up to 6 percent for radial and 12 percent for bias agricultural tires. Those increases take effect Jan. 1. General aviation tire prices also will rise 5 percent worldwide as of April 1.
Parent company Group Michelin said in early December it will increase prices for all types of tires sold in Europe by an average of 5 percent. The company blamed rising raw materials costs for the price hikes.
Michelin recalls commercial tires
GREENVILLE, S.C.-Michelin Americas Truck Tires voluntarily is recalling as many as 4,000 commercial truck tires made in Northern Ireland because of quality concerns.
The company said it notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it will recall the Michelin XDE M/S Size 10R22.5 Load Range F and G tires after its quality control system found a condition in a tire that could cause rapid air loss. Michelin said it has no reports of accidents involving the tire.
The recall involves commercial truck tires only and has no impact on any other Michelin tires, the firm said.
The recalled tires were made at the firm's Ballymena, North Ireleand, plant between May and October. Returned tires will be replaced.
Pirelli expands MIRS production
ROME, Ga.-Pirelli Tire North America Inc. said it has begun installation of a fourth production line at its Modular Integrated Roboticized System plant in Rome, which will become the lead source for Pirelli's performance sport-utility vehicle products.
The new line will be dedicated principally to the manufacture of the Scorpion Zero performance SUV tire, Pirelli said. Full production from the line is slated for June.
Pirelli S.p.A. also will switch production of the 26-inch Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico tire-recently announced at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show- to Georgia from Europe in June.
Michelin Canada moves headquarters
LAVAL, Quebec-Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. has moved to a new location.
The company's new address is 3020 Jacques-Bureau Ave., Laval, Quebec H7P 6G2. The phone number is (450) 978-4700.
NHTSA examines Hummer wheels
WASHINGTON-The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary evaluation of alleged steering knuckle fractures at the lower ball joint attachment in model year 2003-04 Hummer H2 sport-utility vehicles.
These failures caused the vehicles to lose control, complainants said, and three of the four reported incidents also resulted in wheel separation.
Goodyear sells stake in plantation
AKRON-Goodyear has agreed to sell its 95-percent stake in an Indonesian rubber plantation to Bridgestone Corp. of Japan.
Terms of the deal for Goodyear Sumatra Plantations (GSP) were not disclosed.
Akron-based Goodyear said its decision to sell its stake in GSP is consistent with its strategy to focus on core business activities, including manufacturing and selling consumer and commercial tires as well as producing synthetic rubber.
Goodyear added the sale will not impact its ability to acquire natural rubber for its operations.
The deal will be completed following various approvals in Indonesia.
DaimlerChrysler replacing ball joints
DETROIT-DaimlerChrysler A.G. will replace the front suspension upper ball joints free of charge on 600,000 Dodge Durango 4x4 sport-utility vehicles and Dodge Dakota pickup trucks, model years 2000-2003.
Ball joint corrosion and wear on these vehicles can result in premature tire wear and even wheel and front suspension loss, according to DaimlerChrysler.
Another 400,000 Chrysler Group vehicles from the same model years will have their warranties extended to seven years or 100,000 miles because of the ball joint problem, the company said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notified DaimlerChrysler in early December of the ball-joint-related wheel loss and asked it to recall the vehicles.
Yokohama sets up design center
TOKYO-Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. has established the Yokohama Design Center (YDC) at the head office building of the Tokyo-based company.
The tire maker said the YDC is equipped with advanced information technologies, workshop functions and audiovisual equipment aimed at contributing to the improvement of passenger tire appearance and reducing the firm's product development lead time.
By establishing the YDC, Yokohama Rubber said its goal is to create an enhanced environment for three-dimensional tire design.
The company's solid-model molding system makes it possible to shorten the time necessary for conventional clay modeling-that is, three-dimensional model creation-and review life-like models from various aspects, Yokohama said. This enables it to improve tire appearance to increase commercial competitiveness and reduce product development lead-time, the firm added.
Yokohama will use the YDC's glass-walled office as a showroom to exhibit new designs as well as for new-design presentations to car makers in Japan and elsewhere.
ATRA names `Judicial Hellholes'
WASHINGTON-For the second year in a row, Madison County, Ill., led the American Tort Reform Association's (ATRA) list of ``Judicial Hellholes,'' signifying judicial districts that give unwarranted advantages to plaintiffs' attorneys at the expense of defendants in product liability suits.
``Defendants declare good reason to fear when sued in Judicial Hellholes,'' said Victor Schwartz, general counsel for ATRA, a coalition whose members include the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).
Jefferson County, Miss., a former leading ``hellhole'' on the ATRA list, was taken off the roll this year because of what the association called ``a series of comprehensive, effective and fair legal reforms'' in the state.
The RMA, ATRA and other industry groups are hoping the Republican majority in the 109th Congress will look favorably on passage of a national tort reform bill. In past years such legislation has included a cap on punitive damages and a ban on ``forum shopping''-allowing trial lawyers to seek favorable venues for product liability and class-action lawsuits.
A complete list of ATRA's Judicial Hellholes can be found at www.atra.org.
ASA offers ASE training guides
BEDFORD, Texas-The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has created a section on its Web site to sell training guides to help automotive service professionals reach certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
ASA offers 22 self-study guides for many areas of the certification. The guides are published by Motor Age Training, offered by Motor Age magazine. Anyone buying the guides through the ASA Web site will receive a 15-percent discount off his/her order. ASA members also can buy the guides by completing an order form in their member binders.
Study guides are available in the following areas: automotive/light truck; collision repair and refinish; engine machinist; parts specialist; and advanced level. Other reference material also is offered.
The ASA's Web site is www.asashop.org.
SmarTire receives TPMS patent
RICHMOND, British Columbia-SmarTire Systems Inc. has been granted a U.S. patent for its multi-mount technology for the installation of sensors in tire pressure monitoring systems.
``The multi-mount technology enables a common sensor to be used to satisfy a variety of vehicle platforms using different mounting methods such as strap, valve or bonded,'' said Kian Sheikh-Bahaie, senior mechanical designer for Richmond-based SmarTire.
A benefit of the technology, he added, is the ability to use aftermarket wheels without disabling the original TPMS.
Henshaw resigns as OSHA head
WASHINGTON-John L. Henshaw, administrator of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) since 2001, stepped down at year-end.
A former president of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, he was praised by rubber manufacturers but criticized by rubber workers for his ardent promotion of voluntary compliance with ergonomics and other workplace safety rules.
There was no immediate word on Mr. Henshaw's successor.
SEMA offering TREAD Act info
DIAMOND BAR, Calif.-The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is making available to its members presentations from a seminar at the recent SEMA Show in Las Vegas on the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act, as well as information on tire-pressure- monitoring systems.
Members of the Diamond Bar-based trade association can obtain a CD-ROM of audio files and Power Point presentations from the seminar, which presented a TREAD Act update and included information on what tire-pressure-monitoring systems the original equipment manufacturers are using and what will be expected from them in the future.
To obtain a copy of the CD, contact SEMA's Paul Moritz at [email protected]
Bridgestone Corp. develops new tech
TOKYO-Bridgestone Corp. has developed and begun implementing proprietary computer modeling technology that simulates tire performance on nearly any kind of road surface, including unpaved roads and off-road terrain.
Bridgestone claims the new technology, dubbed Comprehensive Road Surroundings Simulation (CROSS), will allow its tire development engineers to streamline work in optimizing tread patterns on tires for four-wheel-drive vehicles, earthmoving equipment, agricultural machinery, all-terrain vehicles and other vehicles that operate on unpaved surfaces.
CROSS incorporates a breakthrough in analyzing terramechanics, or the behavior of soil under loads.
Bridgestone uses a supercomputer to predict the movement and response of soil as it is compacted under a rolling tire. It can even analyze behavior in sunny, rainy and snowy conditions, Bridgestone said.
The new simulation technology greatly reduces the amount of field testing required in tire development, Bridgestone said, and lets engineers simulate a greater range of surfaces than would be available for field testing.
BFS plant gains habitat certification
NASHVILLE, Tenn.-A non-profit environmental group has awarded Bridgestone/Firestone's Warren County, Tenn., plant with habitat certification for the plant's conservation projects.
The certification is part of the Wildlife Habitat Council's Corporate Lands for Learning Award, which is designed to recognize outstanding environmental education, stewardship and voluntary employee efforts.
BFS' Warren County plant produces steel-belted radial tires for truck and bus applications. About 660 acres are proposed habitat enhancement areas, the tire maker said.
Team members at the plant plan to promote native wildlife in the area while discouraging aggressive, non-native wildlife.
Already they have installed bluebird and wood duck nest boxes, removed non-native overgrown nursery stock and made preparations for growing American chestnut trees. Employees also created a nature trail through a portion of the site and hosted wildlife events with local children's groups.
The council said the Warren County plant joins BFS' plant in Oklahoma City and a former landfill in Port Deposit, Md., which also are certified.