Conti names dealer channel director
CHARLOTTE, N.C.-Continental Tire North America Inc. has named Jim Sicking its director, independent dealer channel, for the passenger/light truck replacement sales and marketing business unit.
Mr. Sicking replaces Carl Casalbore, who left Conti this summer to join Jacksonville, Fla.-based distributor Barron's Wholesale Tire Inc. as a partner and vice president of sales and marketing.
In his new post, Mr. Sicking will be responsible for achieving branded sales and profit objectives in the dealer channel. He most recently served as national accounts manager with Phillips Industries Inc.
Nokian Tyres' Gaede to retire
LAVERGNE, Tenn.-Dennis Gaede, president of Nokian Tyres Inc., will retire Jan. 15 after 15 years with the company.
Under Mr. Gaede's leadership, Nokian's North American sales have grown to $115 million from $3 million, the company said. Following Mr. Gaede's retirement, he will be an adviser to the company until October 2008.
Replacing Mr. Gaede as president will be Bernie Del Duca, who has been vice president of sales the past 14 years for the North American unit of Nokia, Finland-based parent Nokian Tyres P.L.C.
The company also announced that Jari Lepisto will become managing director of Nokian Tyres Holdings North America. He has been managing director of Nokian's Swedish operation and has been with the firm for 10 years.
Goodyear TX plant to keep mixing
AKRON-Goodyear plans to maintain rubber mixing capacity at its Tyler, Texas, tire plant for the foreseeable future after it phases out tire production there in January.
The tire production phaseout at Tyler will cause 600 to 650 job losses, a Goodyear spokesman said, although some workers will remain there. Another 155 hourly workers took a special early exit incentive and left at the end of June.
Hourly employees who lose their jobs at Tyler will have preferential hiring rights at other Goodyear plants, he added.
The Tyler plant, with a daily capacity of 25,000 passenger and light truck tires, was affected by Goodyear's decision in 2006 to exit certain segments of the private brand tire business. Its production is either being discontinued or absorbed by other Goodyear facilities, the spokesman said, and none is being moved off-shore.
Goodyear expects the production shutdown will save the company about $50 million a year after taxes.
Toyota launches tire, gas promo
TORRANCE, Calif.-Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. is aiming to pump up tire sales at its car dealerships with a fall promotion tied to free gas cards.
The car maker's ``Toyota Fall Gas Fill Up'' promotion runs through Nov. 30. Customers who purchase four new tires at participating Toyota Tire Center dealerships will receive a $50 ``Fill It Up'' gas card that can be used at any fuel establishment that accepts American Express credit cards.
The Toyota promotion also is available online at ToyotaOwners Online.com, which provides tire tips, scheduled maintenance and other owner information.
Qualifying tire purchases must include four new tires that total $150 (pre-tax) or more from participating Toyota Tire Center dealers, the company said.
Bridgestone to up OTR capacity
TOKYO-Bridgestone Corp. plans to raise the capacity of its off-the-road (OTR) tire plant under construction in Kitakyushu, Japan, by about 20 percent over the original planned capacity to 50 metric tons of processed rubber a day.
Bridgestone did not say what it has budgeted for the increase. The company budgeted $265 million a year ago for the project, which includes expanding capacity for steel tire cord at the firm's nearby plant in Saga.
Bridgestone cited continuing high demand for large and ultra-large OTR tires for its decision.
Production at the new plant should start in the second half of 2009, with the expanded production schedule to begin by the second half of 2010.
Brembo acquires brake division
DETROIT-Hayes Lemmerz International Inc. has sold its automotive brake components division for approximately $58 million in cash to Brembo North America Inc.
Hayes' brake plants, located in Homer, Mich., and Apodaca, Mexico, make brake rotors and drums for the North American passenger car and light truck markets. The division-which employs approximately 250-had 2006 sales of approximately $120 million.
Brembo said it plans to acquire all of the stock of two Hayes Lemmerz subsidiaries.
Italy-based Brembo S.pA. is a manufacturer of brakes for the automotive, aftermarket, commercial vehicles and racing industries with about $1.1 billion in annual sales. Its Brembo North America unit is based in Farmington Hills, Mich.
Northville Township, Mich.-based Hayes Lemmerz International is a global supplier of automotive and commercial highway wheels and other automotive components.
Michelin to donate tires to 50 people
GREENVILLE, S.C.-Michelin North America Inc. next year will select 50 individuals across the U.S. to receive tire donations as part of its Driving America's Safety program for emergency workers.
The program seeks nominations of firefighters or EMS personnel to receive tires for their emergency equipment. Nominations can be made online at www.michelinman.com through Nov. 23.
Goodyear gets military fitment
AKRON-Goodyear has gained a new U.S. military tire fitment for all High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (Humvees).
The company's Wrangler MT/R Military Edition tire received approval from the military in September, with application of the tire beginning in January. It will replace Goodyear's longtime Wrangler MT tire, which has been the original equipment and replacement tire for military Humvees since 1982.
Goodyear said the tire offers improved tread life and patented ``anti-puncture pads'' to help resist shoulder punctures. The tire maker also offers a civilian version of the Wrangler MT/R positioned as an all-terrain traction tire for off-road enthusiasts.
RMA: Tire Safety Week scheduled
WASHINGTON-The seventh annual National Tire Safety Week will be April 20-26 in the U.S., the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) said.
An initiative of the RMA's ongoing ``Be Tire Smart-Play Your PART'' program, National Tire Safety Week highlights consumer education and information on proper tire care and maintenance. The program includes free tire pressure checks, advertising, promotions and media outreach on the part of participating retailers, as well as distributions of ``Be Tire Smart'' safety brochures and literature.
Some 18,500 retail outlets-encompassing tire dealers, auto dealers and auto repair facilities-participated in National Tire Safety Week in 2007, up from 15,000 in 2006, the RMA said.