Pirelli to add car tires at China JV
YANZHOU, China-Pirelli S.p.A. will add capacity for car tires in the next two years at the site of its joint venture truck tire plant in Yanzhou, Shandong Province, company officials said at a ceremony marking the inauguration of Pirelli tire production at the factory.
Pirelli has committed about $180 million over three years to boost truck tire capacity and add passenger tire capacity at the plant, a 60-40 joint venture with China's RoadOne Tyres.
The expansion project will more than double truck tire capacity at the facility to 1.2 million units a year, Pirelli said, and will allow the venture to pursue its goal of attaining a market share in China of 3 percent short term and growing at twice the industry pace thereafter.
Pirelli intends to use the factory mainly to supply Chinese domestic markets and to export to Australia and southeast Asia.
Michelin to buy Apollo's share of JV
GURGAON, India-Group Michelin is buying out Apollo Tyres Ltd.'s 49-percent share of their Michelin Apollo Tyres Pvt. Ltd. joint venture and will take full control of the firms' project to make radial truck and bus tires in India.
At the same time, the partners decided to delay the project because the pace of radialization of the Indian market is proceeding slower than projected two years ago.
The new plant, at a site in Ranjangaon, originally was to have come on stream this year, the partners said in early 2004, with annual capacity of 300,000 to 350,000 tires.
Michelin and Apollo had budgeted $70 million to build the plant. In addition, Michelin bought a 14.9-percent stake in Apollo Tyres for $28 million and agreed to provide Apollo with technical support for making radial tires.
Apollo said Michelin will remain a shareholder, and the partners will continue to explore opportunities for cooperation in India.
New race series to include U.S. event
LONDON-A1 Grand Prix's inaugural World Cup of Motorsport season will include a race in the U.S., scheduled for March 19 at Laguna Seca, Calif., the series organizers announced recently. Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is supplying Cooper racing slicks for the series.
A1 Grand Prix features up to 25 national teams competing in two-race weekend events at 12 circuits in 12 countries on six continents. The drivers will compete in identical Lola chassis powered by 3.4-liter Zytek V8s engines.
The A1 Grand Prix series, created by Middle East businessman Sheikh Maktoum, runs from September through April.
Bridgestone to build proving ground
TOKYO-Bridgestone Corp. will build a proving ground in Yixing, Jiangsu Province, China, at a cost of about $25 million over the next two years. It will be the tire maker's 11th proving ground worldwide.
Bridgestone said it has acquired a 900-acre plot of ground for the facility, which will feature a 0.56-mile straight track for high-speed performance tests and a curved track for handling and stability tests.
Bridgestone said the facility will allow it to test tires specifically for the Chinese original equipment and replacement markets, while enhancing the speed and efficiency of development assessment and performance verification. The firm also will use it for local sales promotion activities and training exercises.
Yixing is due west of Shanghai and about 120 miles inland.
Kumho to build third factory in China
CHANGCHUN, China-Kumho Tire Co. Inc. will build a passenger tire plant in Changchun-its third in China-over the coming 18 to 24 months at a cost of $150 million.
Kumho will partner with Chinese car maker FAW Group Corp. to finance the plant, although Kumho said it will contribute up to 90 percent of the funding. The plant, to be on-stream by the first half of 2007, will have a capacity of 3.1 million tires a year, Kumho said.
The new plant will supplement an existing Kumho factory in Nanjing, China, and a plant under construction in Tianjin, China, giving Kumho annual capacity of about 30 million units by 2007-08.
Kumho President and CEO Sae-Chul Oh earlier this year said the company intends to become the No. 1 replacement brand in China by next year, targeting a 15-percent passenger tire market share by then.