Two tire makers raising prices
AKRON—Goodyear and Titan Tire Corp. both are hiking tire prices on July 1.
Goodyear said it will increase prices on some of its Steelmark and Remington commercial tires up to 10 percent due to soaring raw material, energy and transportation costs.
Titan Tire, a subsidiary of Titan International Inc., said price hikes on tires and tire/wheel assemblies for original equipment customers will range from 7 to 37 percent. The prices vary depending on the tire and are also due to raw material prices.
Cooper opens China R&D center
SHANGHAI-Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has opened a 53,800-sq.-ft. technical center near Shanghai to improve its service to Asian customers.
The Cooper Tire Asia Technical Center complements the company's North American and European research and development centers, Cooper said. It will be used for developing and improving products, implementing test programs, testing against competitor products and supporting marketing and sales activities.
Findlay, Ohio-based Cooper said the location of the center helps bring resources closer to its Asian customers and enhances its ability to support other global markets.
The center, in Zhudi Town/Minhang District, includes a tire forensics lab, tire and rim storage, support workshops, materials lab and a number of offices, conference rooms and work rooms. Cooper said it expects more than 50 engineers, chemists and technicians to work in the center.
Cooper did not disclose its investment in the center, which is located more than 400 miles from Cooper's tire plants in Rongcheng, Shandong Province.
TIA members can join credit union
BOWIE, Md.-Tire Industry Association (TIA) members are now eligible to join NASA Federal Credit Union.
TIA said its members, their immediate family members and all persons living in the same residences as TIA members will have access to the credit union's services, including competitive rates on deposits and loans, free online bill payments, Visa credit cards with low fixed rates, account access at more than 1,900 branches in 43 states, and surcharge-free ATM access at more than 5,300 7-Eleven stores.
TIA members can apply for credit union membership online in the ``Members Only'' section at www.tireindustry.org.
Falken names sales executive
FONTANA, Calif.-Falken Tire Corp. has promoted Bruce Ware to vice president of sales, with responsibility for the tire marketer's sales activities in North America.
Mr. Ware previously served as Falken's executive director of corporate accounts, directing all sales activities pertaining to the company's regional and national retailers.
Falken made other changes in its chain of command as John McAndrew, director of wholesale channel sales for the past two years, has retired. He is leaving Falken with 30 years' experience in the tire industry, the company said.
Falken is a subsidiary of Japan's Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.
Firms to research tires' health effects
TOKYO-The chief executives of tire companies in the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Europe approved $2.2 million in funding recently to continue research into the health effects of tire wear particles.
The CEOs-from Bridgestone Corp., Continental A.G., Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Goodyear, Hankook Tire Co. Ltd., Kumho Tire Co. Inc., Group Michelin, Pirelli Tyre S.p.A., Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.-met in Tokyo June 12 to review the progress of a multi-year research program to study the potential health and environmental impact of their products.
At the Tokyo meeting, the CEOs found that preliminary exposure assessments for tire materials showed sufficient margins of safety for human health based on screening models, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).
They agreed to carry out further analysis individually under the European Union's new Regulation, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals program, the RMA said.
The tire research project is handled under the auspices of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a Geneva-based nonprofit organization that works with global businesses on environmental and social issues.
During the past 16 months researchers focused on two key issues: improving understanding of the materials used to make tires, and studying tire wear and roadway particles generated during normal vehicle use.
Reports from the tire research project will appear in late July on the WBCSD Web site, www.wbcsd.org.
Pep Boys' 1st qtr. net earnings rise
PHILADELPHIA-Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack's first quarter net earnings jumped 46.8 percent to $4.7 million.
Net earnings from continuing operations jumped 70.9 percent to $5.3 million.
Sales for the quarter ended May 3 declined 7.7 percent to $498 million. Retail sales fell 12.2 percent for the quarter to $273.3 million. Service center sales dipped 1.6 percent to $224.7 million from the same period last year.
Pep Boys' CFO Ray Arthur noted the company completed two sale leaseback transactions that allowed it to reduce its long-term debt by $58.7 million and build $87.3 million in cash and equivalents.
``We are pleased with the progress we have made this quarter,'' said Interim CEO Mike Odell. ``Our service center business revenue and profitability increased. We are broadening our core automotive assortment offering and see positive trends in the categories that have been re-assorted.
``Our remaining non-core clearance inventory is down to $12.6 million and we expect to complete the sell-through by the end of the second quarter. And, most importantly, we are energizing our team to serve our customers, because that's where it all starts.''
Pep Boys operates more than 560 stores in 35 states and Puerto Rico.
Tire dealer group redesigns Web site
TEQUESTA, Fla.-Independent Tire Dealers Group L.L.C. (ITDG) has redesigned its Web site and launched a new domain name: www.itdgusa.com.
The original Web site, www.independent-tire.net, will remain online for a short time, the group said. ITDG thought a new domain name would explain its identity and the location of its members better, said Ed Long, vice president of sales and marketing.
ITDG has 110 members representing more than 300 tire and service center locations in the U.S.
Toyo hires two sales managers
CYPRESS, Calif.-Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp. has added Jerry Taylor and Marc Sanzenbacher as district managers for its sales team.
Mr. Taylor will serve as district manager of Division 1, an area that covers much of the western U.S.
Mr. Sanzenbacher will serve as the company's ultra-high performance sales manager for Division 2, responsible for much of the southern U.S.
Mr. Taylor worked for Toyo from 2000-2002 as district sales manager of Division 2. He has more than 15 years of sales and service management in tires, wheels, custom accessories and the custom car restoration industry and most recently owned Tuner & Off Road in Benton, Ark.
Mr. Sanzenbacher, who has 10 years of sales and management experience with automotive dealerships, most recently worked for Bill Heard Enterprises as performance division director. Prior to that he was a retail sales manager for Wheel Tec of Tampa, a premium automotive boutique and Toyo wholesale distributor.