Titan Reaches Agreement With USW

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Titan International Inc. has reached tentative agreements with the United Steelworkers (USW) unions representing its plants in Des Moines, Iowa; Bryan, Ohio; and Freeport, Ill. Votes are expected in the coming weeks.

Paul Reitz, CEO and president of Titan, announced the tentative agreements during the company’s first-quarter earnings call on May 4, 2017. The current labor agreements expired in November 2016, and operations at the plants have continued while both sides worked on negotiations.

“Titan has a longstanding, good relationship with the USW, as evidenced over the past couple of years when we worked closely together to present cases to the International Trade Commission (ITC) regarding OTR tires from China, India and Sri Lanka.,” Reitz said. “Their support in these cases was greatly appreciated and instrumental in the successful determinations from the ITC. For more than 20 years, we’ve viewed the USW and its members as an integral part of the Titan team and we appreciate their hard work in building quality tires day-in and day-out at our North American tire plants.”

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Nokian Plans U.S. Tire Factory

M-Nokian-Dayton-TN-Rendering-1-1.jpgNokian Tyres Inc. is building a factory in the U.S. to produce passenger car, SUV and light truck tires. The plant, to be located in southeast Tennessee, will have an initial capacity to produce 4 million tires annually, and the site also will house a distribution center.

The company will break ground in Rhea County, Tennessee, in early 2018, and production lines should be running by 2020. The distribution facility will have the capacity to hold 600,000 tires, and there is room to expand production at the tire plant “to meet future demand.”
Nokian says it is investing $360 million to build what will be its first North American plant. It will serve customers in the U.S. and Canada.

“In addition to increased capacity, the Dayton, Tennessee, site’s proximity to North American customers will shorten lead and delivery times,” says Tommi Heinonen, head of Nokian Tyres North America. “It’s our goal that the new plant will help us better serve our growing customer base throughout the U.S. and Canada by improving customer service and efficiencies.”

Nokian says building a plant for North America continues the company’s “strong year-over-year growth in both Canada and the U.S.” The company recently increased its warehouse capacity with the opening of its Montreal-area distribution center.
The plant will create up to 400 new jobs in the local community. For more information about the plant, visit http://www.nokiantires.com/daytonfactory.

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Hankook and Bridgestone Earn GM Supplier of the Year Honors

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Hankook Tire America Corp. and Bridgestone Corp. received supplier of the year awards from General Motors Co. at the auto manufacturer’s 25th annual supplier awards ceremony.

This is the first time Hankook has received the award. This is the second straight year and 15th occasion that Bridgestone has received this award, which includes the Bridgestone Americas Inc. division.

GM recognized 118 of its best suppliers from 15 countries that have consistently exceeded its expectations, created outstanding value or brought new innovations to the company. It is the most suppliers GM has recognized since introducing the Supplier of the Year program in 1992.

“We are focused on building positive supplier relationships, bringing new, customer-centric innovations to GM and being the OEM of choice among suppliers,” said Steve Kiefer, GM vice president, global purchasing and supply chain. “The companies we recognize tonight not only have brought innovation, but also delivered it with the quality our customers deserve.”

The winning suppliers were chosen by a global team of GM purchasing, engineering, quality, manufacturing and logistics executives and selected based on performance criteria in product purchasing, indirect purchasing, customer care and aftersales, and logistics.

“Acknowledged by our partners, this award is an additional proof point which testifies to Hankook Tire’s technology leadership and premium quality,” said Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO of Hankook. “We will continue to thrive as a global premium brand by providing innovative, top-quality tires to our partners worldwide.”

Said Mike Martini, president, original equipment, U.S. and Canada, for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations: “I am proud of the effort and dedication that earned Bridgestone this honor for the 15th time. This award is a testament to our product, engineering and manufacturing performance at Bridgestone, and belongs to the dedicated teammates across our global organization who bring value and innovation to partners like GM.”

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Cooper Expands Load Range for Roadmaster Tire

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has added a new load range to the Roadmaster RM180+(EM) steer tire line to accommodate heavier steer axles.

The RM180+(EM), which is SmartWay verified, is ideal for long haul applications. The tire features a highway tread pattern and optimized footprint to promote even wear. Combined with high tensile strength four-belt construction, the tire is designed to deliver long tread mileage, durability and retreadability, plus low rolling resistance for improved fuel economy.

“Heavier steer axles are becoming increasingly more common in the market, and the addition of load range H to the Roadmaster RM180+(EM) aligns this product’s offerings with the needs of our customers,” says Gary Schroeder, director of Cooper’s truck and bus tire business. “The Roadmaster RM180+(EM) is a premium product that’s been verified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership as a low rolling resistance tire, meaning it can help fleets continue to be more cost efficient. It’s also backed by a strong warranty and the quality that’s behind the Roadmaster name, making it a popular choice for long haul applications.”
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Evolution H/T From Cooper Targets CUVs, SUVs, and Pickups

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As the market for CUVs, SUVs and pickups continues to expand, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is updating its product lineup with the new Evolution H/T all season highway tire. It replaces the Discoverer H/T.

Cooper says the Evolution H/T competes at a mid-range price point, and offers grip, stability and comfort. It features updated technology compared to the Discoverer H/T and covers 28 tire sizes for the CUV, SUV and light duty pickup truck market.
Cooper says the Evolution H/T include StabilEdge technology for enhanced handling and dry tracking stability, and 3D Micro-Gauge siping to maintain wet traction and superior handling. The tire also includes a silica tread compound and tread profile that provide even wear and long tread life. The new tire carries a 60,000 mile warranty.

“The market for SUVs, CUVs and pickups continues to expand rapidly,” says Scott Jamieson, director of product management for North America. “Being responsive to what is happening in the market is a commitment we take seriously at Cooper to help our dealers grow their businesses and help us succeed along with them. This commitment calls for Cooper to adapt our product offerings and evolve our tire lines and size ranges on an ongoing basis.

“The new Cooper Evolution H/T is a great example of offering a tire that responds to the needs of a growing market, while also providing a product with advanced technology and great performance at a price point that hits a sweet spot in that market. We’re excited about this tire and what it will bring to our dealers in terms of a high quality, affordable new option for their SUV, CUV and pickup truck customers.”

To support the introduction of the Evolution H/T, Cooper has provided dealers with a launch kit, and soon will host a customer webinar to answer product questions in realtime. Later this month, Cooper also will provide e-training for dealers on the tire’s features and benefits.

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Some Tariffs Increase, While Others Decrease

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The latest annual reviews of tariffs on off-the-road tires from China have resulted in changes to how much tire makers and importers will pay on the tires they import into the U.S.

In the anti-dumping investigation for the period September 2014-August 2015, the Department of Commerce (DOC) says the rate for Xuzhou Xugong Tyres Co. Ltd., (also known as Armour Rubber Co. Ltd. or Xuzhou Hanbang Tyre Co. Ltd.) should be 33.08% — that’s nearly half of what the company was assessed after the previous year’s review; then it was 65.33%.

And because Xugong was one of the primary companies the DOC investigated (the agency calls them a ‘mandatory respondent’), the drop in its rate lowers the rate of these nine other companies to the same 33.08%:

Shiyan Desizheng Industry & Trade Co. Ltd.

Qingdao Jinhaoyang International Co. Ltd.

Sailun Jinyu Group Co. Ltd.

Weifang Jintongda Tyre Co. Ltd.

Zhongce Rubber Group Co. Ltd.

Weihai Zhongwei Rubber Co. Ltd.

Qingdao Qihang Tyre Co.

Qingdao Free Trade Zone Full-World International Trading Co. Ltd., and

Trelleborg Wheel Systems (Xingtai) China Co. Ltd.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that the bulk of companies who were assessed the country-wide rate will continue to pay 105.31%.

Subsidy rates go up

As for the countervailing investigation — which covers subsidies from a foreign government that a company receives — the latest review is prompting substantial rate increases.

For Guizhou Tyre Co. Ltd., the rate is increasing from 2.52% to 34.46%. For companies not selected for an individual review the new rate of 40.24% is almost eight-times higher than the previous 5.65%.

The good news for these companies is that their rates could have been even higher. When the DOC published preliminary countervailing rates in October 2016, Guizhou’s rate was to be 38.19%, and the “others” category rate was to be 54.20%. (It’s not uncommon for the DOC to make revisions after companies provide additional data for consideration.)

Why a review?

Companies who are assessed tariffs have the right to request a review of the data once a year. The government publishes a notice in the Federal Register each month of the investigations that had been finalized in that same month in previous years, and companies have a certain amount of time to request an administrative review. Sometimes no one makes a request. In the case of the anti-dumping investigation on OTR tires from China, the 2016 review was the seventh review.

Tariffs on OTR tires from China were imposed beginning in 2008, and they were renewed in 2013. Tariffs are imposed on five-year cycles, and the next mandatory review of these tariffs is in 2018.

Titan responds

After the higher subsidy rates were published in the Federal Register this week, Titan International Inc. released a statement which included messages from Chairman Morry Taylor and CEO and President Paul Reitz.

Taylor says, “We thank the government agencies involved for their diligence in pursuing these reviews. These results confirm that imports of OTR tires from China continue to be subsidized and dumped and harm U.S. producers of OTR tires in the U.S. marketplace. I believe Titan will see a positive impact in our aftermarket business as a result of these determinations.On behalf of our shareholders and workers, we are pleased that the U.S. government’s investigations have confirmed what we are seeing in the U.S. marketplace.”

Reitz says, “These results confirm our belief that the levels of government subsidization had significantly increased and that the amount of dumping has continued. The continued monitoring by the DOC of these orders and the imposition of accurate amounts of countervailing and antidumping duties is an important step in restoring conditions of fair trade. We will continue to work with the DOC to insure that any and all subsidization and dumping by Chinese producers is met by appropriate duty levels. We have been fighting and will continue to fight against the unfair trade practices of any U.S. trading partners.”

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Yokohama Runs Spring Promotion

YOKOHAMA_black_logoThe new ultra-high performance Advan A052 is part of Yokohama Tire Corp.’s Spring Getaway promotion, which rewards consumers with a choice of a 2016-2017 Chelsea Football Club (FC) jersey or a $60-$80 Visa prepaid card for purchases of select tires.

The Spring Getaway promotion runs through May 31, 2017.

“The timing is perfect for soccer enthusiasts and passionate Chelsea fans in the U.S. because Chelsea is closing in on another English Premier League championship,” said Alan Holtschneider, YTC director of marketing. Yokohama is the Official Shirt Sponsor of Chelsea FC.

Holtschneider says the Spring Getaway national rebate promotion was a big hit last year with dealers and consumers. “It’s been a popular promotion because enthusiasts buying our top-notch tires get rewarded with a cool Chelsea jersey or a prepaid gift card. Everyone wins.”

Tires eligible for a $60 Yokohama Visa prepaid card or a Chelsea FC jersey (level 1) are:

Advan Sport A/S,
Avid Ascend,
Avid ENVigor,
Avid ENVigor ZPS,
Geolandar G055,
Geolandar H/T G056,
Geolandar A/T G015,
Geolandar M/T+,
Geolandar A/T-S,
YK740 GTX*,
YK-HTX*, and
Tornante*
Tires eligible for a $80 Yokohama Visa Prepaid card or a Chelsea FC jersey (level 2) are:

Advan A052,
Advan Neova AD08R, and
Advan A048.
Tires marked with an asterisk (*) are available at select retail locations.

The rebate is available at participating Yokohama dealers nationwide and select authorized online dealers.

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BF Goodrich to Award Trail Grants to 4 Off Road Clubs

downloadMichelin North America Inc. is accepting nominations for the BFGoodrich Outstanding Trails program from April 17 to July 31, 2017. Grants of $4,000 each will be awarded to four off-road clubs in North America.

These clubs will use their grants to continue local efforts that preserve and protect their hometown trails.

This is the 12th year for the BFGoodrich brand to offer the Outstanding Trails program. This year 4 Wheel Parts is the presenting sponsor. 4 Wheel Parts will promote the program and provide a critical outreach extension to four-wheel-drive clubs across North America. The program also is conducted in collaboration with United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA), Blue Ribbon Coalition and the Off Road Business Association.

To date, Outstanding Trails has awarded grants to 44 off-road trails nominated by 41 local clubs throughout North America. The program has provided more than $160,000 in grants in support of these trail conservation efforts.

Additionally this year, BFGoodrich Tires has become the Official Tire of Jeep Jamboree USA and the two will partner in expanding the Outstanding Trails program. Jeep Jamboree USA is a program consisting of 30 events across the country intended to encourage Jeep owners to get the most adventure from their vehicle as part of this family-oriented rides catering to every level of expertise. The Jeep Jamboree USA organization, recognizing the common goals they share with BFGoodrich Tires, will donate an additional $4,000 to the Outstanding Trails program. Additionally the trails that are part of the Jeep Jamboree USA program are eligible for the outstanding Trails grants.

Nominations will be accepted beginning April 17 through July 31, 2017, on the BFGoodrich Tires Garage website at http://www.garage.bfgoodrichtires.com/outstandingtrails. The competition invites off-road clubs from around North America to nominate local trails that merit grants for maintenance or refurbishing. Trails are selected based on uniqueness, terrain type and enthusiast support.

BFGoodrich has assembled a panel of judges comprising four-wheel industry veterans to evaluate Outstanding Trails grant submissions. This group selects the winning trails, which will be announced at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) in November in Las Vegas.

For more information on BFGoodrich products, visit http://www.BFGoodrichTires.com, on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/BFGoodrichTires or on Twitter at @BFGoodrichTires.

For more information on 4 Wheel Parts off-road truck, Jeep and aftermarket performance products, visit 4wheelparts.com or call toll-free 877-474-4821.

For more information about United Four Wheel Drive Associations, which represents all-brand, four wheel-driveenthusiasts, visit http://www.ufwda.org

For more information about the BlueRibbon Coalition, a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship, visit http://www.BlueRibbonCoalition.Org.

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Yokohama Sponsors LA Angels

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For the eighth consecutive year, Yokohama Tire Corp. is partnering with Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels in the American League.

Yokohama’s sponsorship includes its corporate logo in the highly visible position of left centerfield. Alan Holtschneider, Yokohama’s director of marketing, says the team sponsorship and branding continues to build awareness for Yokohama products among Angels fans.

In addition to the Angels, Yokohama’s 2017 sports sponsorship roster includes the English Premier League’s Chelsea FC, Nitro Circus Live U.S. Tour, Spartan Race Series, Needham Memorial Day Soccer Tournament, U.S. Youth Soccer and motorsports series such as the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama.

Yokohama Tire Corp. is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2017. The company’s complete product line includes tires for high performance, light truck, passenger car, commercial truck and bus, and off-the-road mining and construction applications. For more information on Yokohama’s broad product line, visit http://www.yokohamatire.com.

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Kenda Tire Sponsors Cleveland Indians

M-Kenda-Tires-at-Cleveland-Indians-1.jpgKenda USA is going all in with its sponsorship of the Cleveland sports scene. Kenda is partnering with the Cleveland Indians as the team’s official partner through the 2017 season.

The agreement gives Kenda TV-visible branded home plate signage as well as baseline signage.

“We are excited to announce our sponsorship with the Cleveland Indians,” says Jimmy Yang, Kenda’s president. “The MLB and the Cleveland Indians organization has always had a strong image and presence in the Ohio market and last year’s appearance in the World Series put the Indians on the world stage. We are always looking for opportunities to connect our brand not only in America, but also across the globe to our global headquarters in Taiwan and all 100-plus countries in between that we serve.”
“We are excited to add Ohio-Based US Headquarters Kenda Tires to the Indians team in anticipation of another exciting season at Progressive Field,” says Ted Baugh, senior director of corporate partnerships and premium hospitality for the Indians . “We appreciate Kenda’s strong support of the Indians to deliver their marketing objectives to Indians Fans everywhere. We look forward to working together closely with them this season and beyond.”

In 2016 Kenda sponsored the Cleveland Cavaliers — the year the team broke Cleveland’s “streak” and brought home the NBA championship.

Kenda also sponsors the Brooklyn Nets, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Ohio State.

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