Cooper recalls CS4 Touring tires
FINDLAY, OhioCooper Tire & Rubber Co. has recalled 1,692 CS4 Touring (VR) tires, size 215/55R17, for insufficient curing time.
Inadequate curing can lead to tread separation and possible road accidents, the Findlay-based tire maker said. The recalled tires were manufactured at Cooper's Albany, Ga., plant between Sept. 7 and Oct. 11.
Cooper removed another 1,580 defective, undistributed CS4 Touring tires from its warehouses, the company told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Les Schwab moves HQ, adds staff
BEND, Ore.Les Schwab Tire Centers has relocated its headquarters from Prineville, Ore., to a 123,000-sq.-ft. office in Bend and added three members to its corporate team, the firm said.
The facility, which opened for business Nov. 17 and houses more than 320 corporate employees, includes solar panels, modern mechanical, heating and cooling systems and water and energy conservation features, the company said.
In addition to the move, Les Schwab hired John ``Jack'' Cuniff, formerly COO and CFO of Adidas America, as chief operating officer.
Dale Thompson, who has two decades of experience in market and brand management, was hired as chief marketing officer.
Ken Edwards, formerly a supply chain management executive with Starbucks Coffee Co., was named vice president, supply chain management.
Denman executive joins Alliance Tire
DENVILLE, N.J.Alliance Tire Co. (USA) Ltd. has hired former Denman Tire Corp. executive James Tuschner as marketing director as it gears up to expand its business in North America with agricultural, industrial, OTR and forestry tires.
Mr. Tuschner was director of marketing for Denman, having worked up through the Denman organization from Midwest regional sales manager.
Alliance Tire, the Denville-based subsidiary of Israel's Alliance Tire (1992) Ltd., also tapped Michael Aguon, formerly with Bridgestone Americas Inc., to be eastern region territory manager.
Mr. Aguon started as a staff engineer for Bridgestone before moving on to positions in staff engineering, sales engineering and account management.
Titan anticipates sales surge in '09
QUINCY, Ill.Titan International Inc. expects its sales to jump as much as 38 percent next year with pre-tax operating income of as much as $190 million.
``It has been a remarkable year for Titan and its employees,'' said Chairman and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr., who is forecasting 2009 to be a ``great year,'' at least in the OTR segments in which Titan competes.
Mr. Taylor said Titan's 2008 sales could hit $1 billion, which would represent a 19.5-percent surge over 2007. He predicted 2009 sales to reach $1.18 billion to $1.35 billion.
On a unit basis, Mr. Taylor projects growth would be in the 20- to 30-percent range.
Addressing investors' concerns, Mr. Taylor said, ``I appreciate the concern over lower commodity prices and its effect on business, but if you look at these commodity prices, they are still higher than in 2006. So be merry, a new year is coming.''
Goodyear idles Fayetteville plant
AKRONGoodyear will halt production at its Fayetteville, N.C., factory between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2, marking the fifth week production has been stopped there this year.
A Goodyear spokeswoman confirmed that the four prior weeks of production halts at the Fayetteville plant this year were enacted to bring inventory in line with demand.
Goodyear, along with Bridgestone/Firestone, recently applied for up to $30 million each in state grants over 10 years to maintain employment and upgrade equipment at their factories in North Carolina.
Conti cuts R&D, capital spending
HANOVER, GermanySeeking to reduce the impact of the contracting global economy on its financial integrity, Continental A.G. is reducing research and development spending, postponing investments and cutting its dividend payment starting with the fourth quarter.
Already during the second half of fiscal 2008 Conti has made adjustments to its investment portfolio that will result in reduced capital spending and R&D spending next year of $645 million and $258 million, respectively. Conti did not disclose which specific projects are being affected.
In disclosing the measures, Continental Executive Board Chairman Karl-Thomas Neumann noted the firm's automotive industry customers have indicated they will build 1.5 million fewer vehicles in the fourth quarter in the U.S. and Europe, to go with roughly a decline of the same magnitude in the first three quarters of the year.
Despite the negative outlook, Conti expects its pre-tax operating income for fiscal 2008 to be in the 7.5- to 8-percent range, Mr. Neumann said.
Low sales push Pep Boys into red
PHILADELPHIAPep Boys–Manny, Moe & Jack suffered operating and net losses in the firm's third quarter due to lower sales as consumers drove less and generally spent less, according to the company.
For the three months ended Nov. 1, Pep Boys was $5 million in the red on an operating basis and $7.3 million on a net basis. Pep Boys' loss in the comparable 2007 quarter was $28 million, due to $50 million worth of pre-tax costs for an inventory write down, asset impairment and increased legal reserves.
Sales fell 10.4 percent to $464.2 million on drops in both merchandise and service revenues.
``To offset these trends,'' said CEO Mike Odell, ``we continue to focus on implementing our strategic plan, serving our customers well, tightly controlling spending and promoting the fact that `Pep Boys Does Everything. For Less.'''
For the nine-month period, the company reported $2.8 million in net earnings and a $21.3 million operating profit, despite a 7.8-percent drop in sales to $1.46 billion, compared with the year-ago period.
Pep Boys has more than 560 retail stores with approximately 6,000 service bays in 35 states and Puerto Rico.
Del-Nat seeks new president
MEMPHIS, Tenn.Private brand tire marketer Del-Nat Tire Corp. is searching for a new president following the departure Dec. 2 of Ed Fabrizio, who had been president since June 2005.
Del-Nat declined to comment further on Mr. Fabrizio's departure, other than to say Board Chairman Dick Erickson, owner of Sun Tire Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla., will serve as president in the interim.
A search committee of Del-Nat Board members has been formed to locate a replacement.
Memphis-based Del-Nat was formed in January 1989 in a merger of Delta Tire Corp. and National Tire Corp. It sells the Delta, National and Akuret brands through more than 140 independent stockholders and distributors nationwide.
Nokian reduces sales outlook
NOKIA, FinlandNokian Tyres P.L.C. is cautioning shareholders it likely won't meet its sales and earnings targets for fiscal 2008 due to weaker-than-expected fourth quarter sales.
Tire demand fell in all of Nokian Tyres' core markets due to lower new car sales, a late start of the car winter tire season and the global financial crisis, the company said.
Nokian earlier had forecast sales would grow as much as 17 percent this year to $1.6 billion, but management is scaling that back to about 5 percent, or about $1.45 billion.
Operating income is estimated to be on par with the 2007 figure of $320 million.
The company has a dim outlook for 2009 and said it is taking measures to adjust inventory and production capacity levels in line with demand, along with cutting costs and investments significantly to ensure sufficient cash flow.
Nokian is limiting sales in Russia and former Soviet Bloc countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia while reclaiming about $40 million worth of tires already sold there to reduce risks related to receivables and exchange rates.
Goodyear taps finance execs
AKRONGoodyear made several leadership changes in its corporate finance operations recently, including appointing Damon Audia, formerly vice president and treasurer, as senior vice president of finance and treasurer.
His expanded role includes Goodyear's investor relations and tax functions.
Goodyear also named Richard Noechel, previously vice president and corporate controller, as vice president of finance for the company's North American Tire business, replacing Marc Voorhees, who has been named chief operating officer of North American Tire's consumer tire business.
Thomas Connell, vice president and chief information officer, will succeed Mr. Noechel as vice president and controller, while retaining his current leadership role in information technology.
Pirelli nets China tire maker award
BEIJINGPirelli Tyre S.p.A. received the Best Tire Manufacturer of the Year award at the 2008 China Auto Service Golden Finger Awards in Beijing.
Pirelli has manufactured tires in China since 2005 and also operates a research and development center in the country.
The company said it received the award based on the aggregate opinions of industry experts, magazine readers and Internet users.
Conti to raise truck tire prices
AKRONTwo Continental A.G. tire divisions will raise truck tire prices in 2009.
Continental Tire Canada Inc. will hike its truck tire prices up to 6 percent, effective Feb. 1, citing ``continued pressure on manufacturing costs and exchange rates.''
Continental Tire de Mexico S.A. de C.V. will raise its prices up to 8 percent on radial truck tires, effective Jan. 1.
Dunn Tire ballpark to be renamed
BUFFALO, N.Y.Dunn Tire L.L.C.'s namesake ballpark in Buffalo is changing its name, but the tire dealership is satisfied it got its money's worth with its eight-year naming rights contract.
The home of the Buffalo Bisons, a Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, was built in 1988 and has undergone four name changes, first as Pilot Field, then North AmeriCare Park and since 1999 as Dunn Tire Park.
On Jan. 1 it will be renamed Coca-Cola Field under a 10-year naming rights agreement with the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Buffalo.
Dunn Tire President Randy Clark said the Buffalo-based tire dealership opted not to renew its naming rights contract because the dealership had achieved marketing saturation and wanted to move on to other projects.
He said that according to recent research, ``our brand awareness was now four times any of our competitors in the market.''
CMA names new fleet manager
MONROVIA, Calif.China Manufacturers Alliance L.L.C. (CMA) has hired Gary Chambers as its strategic OEM/fleet manager.
Mr. Chambers, who will be based in Charlotte, N.C., is responsible for assisting in growth of the Double Coin brand with OEMs and with large and medium fleets in North America.
He has more than 20 years of experience in the industry and has held several sales and marketing positions, according to CMA. He most recently worked for Reyco Granning, an OEM supplier for trailer suspensions and axles.