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Nexen opens new tire plant in Korea

buy nexen tiresNexen Tire has continued the expansion of their manufacturing capacity, breaking ground on a second plant in Changnyeong, South Korea. The new tire manufacturing plant will increase the company’s South Korean and Chinese production to 60 million units. The need for the new plant reflects increasing market share for wholesale Nexen tires throughout the world.

Nexen officials say the new plant represents a 1.2 trillion won ($986 million USD) investment. Trial production runs should begin in Q4 2011, with full-scale manufacturing expected to begin in March 2012.

Officials also say that the new plant was designed with eco-friendly goals in mind. Cutting edge technology was used to create an automated process that minimizes waste and unnecessary negative impact on the environment.

The company’s most recent plant, in Qingdao, China, opened for business in 2007 to meet increasing global demand for Nexen high performance, passenger, SUV, light truck, and winter tires. Nexen is headquartered in headquartered in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province, and Seoul, South Korea.

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Filed under: Nexen Tires, Tire News, ,

Goodyear moving tire production out of Taiwan plant

tire wholesalers goodyearGoodyear has announced that they will be closing there one and only plant in Taiwan in an effort to reduce costs. They will seek to move production to a lower-cost country. The Taoyuan plant currently manufacturers passenger and light truck/SUV tires and employs over 250 people. The plant has been pumping out Goodyear tires for the Taiwan and Asian export markets for 41 years. The official last day of the plant is just a couple months from now: July 31, 2010.

Despite the plant closure, the company released a statement that reiterated the fact that “Goodyear remains committed to the Taiwan market and will work to ensure that there is no disruption to the supply of products or services to its valued customers.”
Just 3 years ago, Goodyear had announced ambitious plans to invest almost $300 million in modernizing the facility and equiping it for the production of low-profile premium tires. In 2007, Goodyear Asia Pacific president Pierre Cohade had said: “This new investment underscores our confidence in Taiwan’s manufacturing capabilities, with its unprecedented competence in innovation, high-quality and flexible workforce, as well as its supply chain management. For Goodyear, we will continue to work with our partners to provide best-of-breed products and services to meet the needs of our customers in the Taiwan and global markets.”

It seems that despite their best intentions, Goodyear has fallen victim to the hard-hitting downturn that is affecting so many companies in the automotive industry. It will be interesting to see which “low-cost” country receives the privilege of hosting Goodyear’s new plant. Tire wholesalers should not expect any delay or disruption in inventory. No word yet on when that decision will be made.

Filed under: Goodyear Tires, Tire News, Uncategorized

WTO to investigate Chinese tire tariffs

According to documents published today, the World Trade Organization is about to get involved in the ongoing US-China tire tariff dispute. The WTO investigation is the result of an appeal filed by China immediately after the Obama administration approved double digit tariffs on Chinese tire exports for the next three years. Since then, trade relations have gotten rocky as China retaliated with tariffs of their own on US products like chicken, industrial acids, and nylon. In return, the US imposed tariffs on steel pipes imported from China, and has begun looking into allegations that China has been selling below cost, or “dumping” products in the US. In short, things are getting ugly.

The WTO will formalize the panel at a meeting tomorrow (January 19, 2010). The three-judge panel will investigate whether the U.S. respected WTO rules in levying the so-called “safeguard” tariffs on Chinese tires. As part of the agreement to join the WTO in 2001, China had agreed to allow other member counties to impose safeguard tariffs on Chinese products if the flow of imports significantly affected domestic factories and employment. The US maintains that this is exactly what is happening with Chinese tires as the domestic auto market struggles amidst a global downturn.

According to trade data, it seems like the US could make a strong case. China gained a 17% market share in the US between 2004 and 2008, as their tire imports rose from $5.1 billion to $9.3 billion. At only $50 a tire, it was growing easy for Chinese products to undercut their domestic American counterparts. Seven US tire plants closed during this time period, and nearly 5,000 positions in the tire industry disappeared.

The WTO’s investigation will continue for 9 months before a judgeship is issued. If the panel finds the US unfairly imposed the tariffs in opposition to WTO agreements, China would be allowed to impose tariffs of their own to recoup their losses. The US could appeal the verdict, meaning that this particular investigation is far from being over.

Filed under: Tire News, , , ,

RMA: US replacement tire market is on the rebound

Finally, some good news for the tire industry. Members of the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association reported yesterday that demand for replacement tires grew 9.3% year-over-year in the US during December. These numbers signify signs of a rebound for the replacement tire market, which has been hard hit in the last year amid a far-reaching global recession.  Domestic tire manufacturers such as Cooper and Goodyear seem to have gained market share, as the overall market volume grew 6.1%. This is believed to be a result of the tire tariffs imposed on Chinese tire manufacturers by the Obama administration. As Chinese manufacturers lose ground due to the tariff, domestic manufacturers are stepping and in and filling the demand.

In light of this news, financial analysts at Deutsche Bank expect Goodyear and Cooper’s volumes to grow to 4% and 13%, instead of the current negative growth trends that both companies are currently experiencing.

In a further investor’s note published Jan. 13, Deutsche Bank described the North American fourth quarter 2009 market recovery as a “meaningful volume uptick.” Meanwhile, Europe is said to have experienced “strong sales of winter tires.” Tire trends in Asia are also said to be encouraging, with Goodyear “particularly exposed to Australia, which has experienced a strong recovery as rising commodity prices have boosted that economy.”

Filed under: Cooper Tires, Goodyear Tires, Rubber Manufacturers Association, Tire News, Tire Sales, , , , ,

Suprise, surprise: Chinese tire exports fall to 4-year low

This headline should be pretty obvious to anyone following the Chinese tire tariff situation. After the U.S. imposed a 35% import tax on all Chinese-manufactured tires, Chinese tire exports dropped a whopping 37.5% in October. The tariff went into effect on September 26, 2009.

According to the country’s General Administration of Customs, China exported 240 million new tires in the first 10 months of 2009, a 9.6% drop from the same time period in 2008. The export value of the tires dropped 10.5% year-on-year to $6.2 billion .The average price declined 1% year-on-year for the average tire.

It appears that the tariff is achieving part of its goals, but whether or not this will cause any issues in other areas of US-China trade relations still remains to be seen.

Filed under: Tire News, , ,

Is Kumho in trouble?

Today Kumho Tire Inc. made a pretty important announcement – one that doesn’t speak highly of the liquidity situation that its parent company currently finds itself in. Due to a temporary cash shortage in the company, many December salaries are being delayed. The $11 million worth of salaries is scheduled to be paid back in early January when Kumho Asiano Group receives payments from clients and replenishes its coffers. The parent company blames the salary delay on a large debt payment made at the end of the year, news which sent shares in Kumho Tire tumbling almost 13%.

Kumho manufactures OE tires for companies like Hyundai and Kia, and like other tire companies, was hit hard but the auto industry recession and vehicle production cuts. On top of the precarious economic situation, Kumho’s parent company also has stakes in other interests and was facing debt payments that had to be made. They have declined to comment officially about this latest incident.

We’ll keep an eye on the liquidity situation at Kumho and hope that everything can get sorted out. It would be a shame to see dips in production on wholesale Kumho tires, which include passenger, performance, light truck, SUV, competition, and commercial truck tire lineups.

Filed under: Kumho Tires, Tire News,

Conti HTL1 truck tire is SmartWay approved

A fourth Continental truck tire, the HTL1 wide-based trailer tire, has been approved by the EPA for inclusion in their SmartWay Transport Partnership list. SmartWay Transport is a collaboration between the EPA and the freight sector designed to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions, and improve energy security. Part of this “green list” includes truck tires that meet government standards for low rolling resistance. Low rolling resistance means that less energy is used to overcome friction between the tire and road surface, resulting in less fuel consumption and better gas mileage.

Continental officials remarked: “Based upon data provided by tire manufacturers and EPA testing and research, the EPA determined that certain tire models can provide a reduction in emissions and an estimated fuel savings of 3% or greater… when used on all three axles.”

The other Continental truck tires that made the grade were the Continental HSL2 steer tire, the Continental HDL Eco Plus drive tire, and the Continental HTL Eco Plus.

For access to wholesale truck tires, contact Future Tire at 516-752-9200.

Filed under: Continental Tires, Eco-friendly Tires, Low Rolling Resistance Tires, Truck Tires, , , ,

Quebec snow tire deadline passes

In snowy Quebec, a mandatory snow tire installation requirement officially passed yesterday. Drivers who fail to utilize snow tires during the winter face hundreds of dollars in fines. Quebec’s mandatory snow tire statue demands that all vehicle owners have snow tires put on their cars between December 15 and March 15 every year. The law, which many safety experts believe is a valuable one, was instituted in an effort to make driving safer for everyone in Quebec, which often sees harsh winters and inclement weather.

The snow tire law went into effect last year, and police officers generally handed out warnings instead of tickets. This year police said they will forego any warnings and issue the fines immediately. If you’re caught in Quebec without snow tires, you can expect to be hit with fines of up to $300, making it a smart decision to just go ahead and buy the tires! Quebec was the first province in Canada to make snow tires mandatory. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said he has no plans to follow Quebec’s lead, despite the pressure he is feeling from various road safety groups.

Snow tires improve traction in wet and icy conditions by employing special tread patterns and stiffer rubber compounds that retain their shape in cold temperatures.

Need wholesale tires in Canada? Contact Future Tire at 516-752-9200.

Filed under: Snow Tires, Tire News, , , ,

Introducing the new Yokohama ENVigor

Yokohama Tire Corporation is set to start shipping an all-new “grand performance” tire that is shaping up to be one of the largest tire launches in the history of the company. Starting in March 2010, the all-new Yokohoma ENVigor line will hit store shelves in 69 different sizes! This exciting new product aims to be the first tire that offers a complete blend of all-season performance, a smooth ride with low road noise, low rolling resistance for improved gas mileage, and maximum treadlife. It appears to be what many would call “a dream tire.”

Yokohama’s confidence in the new ENVigor lineup is evidenced by the sheer size of the launch. Usually new tires are released in popular sizes to start so that the marketability can be gauged. In this case, Yokohama has decided to release the ENVigor in 69 sizes right off the bat. This usually means that the company knows they have a good product that the market is going to want – badly. Yokohama also expects to have the new lineup replace their popular AVID A4, V4, and W4 models.

The Yokohama AVID ENVigor has several features in its tread design that aid with things like water traction, winter traction, hydroplaning, reduced noise, even treadwear, and fuel efficiency. It certainly appears to be a very well-rounded tire. Here’s what Yokohama VP Dan King had to say about the new tire:

“ENVigor is unlike any product the industry has developed to date,” said Dan King, Yokohama vice president, sales and marketing. “Only ENVigor delivers collectively all the performance and environmental attributes in a single tire that a new category virtually had to be created for it: Grand Performance. It provides excellent traction and handling, enhanced comfort and treadlife – all while delivering remarkable gas mileage. It’s quite possibly the most complete tire ever created.”

For access to this and other wholesale Yokohama tires, you can contact Future Tire at 516-752-9200.

Filed under: Eco-friendly Tires, Tire News, Yokohama Tires, , , , ,

Hankook jumps on the bandwagon – 5% price increase

Does this sound familiar?

“The ongoing rise in the cost of raw materials and energy consumed in manufacturing and distribution continues to impact our industry. We are making every effort possible to control costs, and improve and expand our production capacity.”

Today’s quote comes from says Todd Hershberger, Sr. Vice President of Hankook Tire America. Hankook, like Bridgestone, Cooper, and other major tire manufacturers, is scheduling a price increase effective January 1st 2010. The full lineup of wholesale Hankook tires will be subject to a 5% price hike. Hankook manufacturers passenger tires, light truck tires, and medium duty truck tires.

Expect more of the same from other manufacturers from now until the end of the month, and most likely into the new year, until the cost of raw materials returns to normal levels.

Filed under: Hankook Tires, Tire News, , ,