World Tyre Production Shifts Camp
You could be forgiven for thinking that tyre production is all shifting camp to China. Not so.
Chinese tyre production is booming. Production last year was up 30%, but because of skyrocketing rubber costs, profits were up only 20%. Fujian Province exported 32.85 million tyres in 2010, an increase of 27%. Kumho sales increased 34% in one year. It is believed that there are 30 tyre manufacturers in China already, so we can expect to see some entirely new brands sold in Australia in future.
However, expansion plans are the go, but not necessarily in China. Hankook, a brand familiar to Australians, is building three new plants- one in Indonesia, one in South Korea, one in China. These will boost total production to 100 million (one billion) tyres a year by 2014.
Cheng Shin, Maxxis tyre brand, is also building three- 2 in China, one in Taiwan, to boost capacity to around 59 million tyres a year.
Double Coin, also known in Australia, is to build a new plant at Hefei, China. Formerly in bed with Michelin, the partnership terminated in 2009, now it looks as though it might be “on again”.
However, if you’re interested in importing some tyres, you’ll have to wait till after the Chinese New Year (the Year of the Rabbit), as they are ALL on holidays 28 January till February 14th.
The sleeping giant, India, cannot be ignored either. Apollo Tyres took over the Dutch brand Vredestein, in 2009. Having digested that, Apollo are now expanding their Limbda factory to capture exports to Bangladesh and other near neighbours. JK Tyre are doing likewise to expand to 1.4 million tyres a year.
The other side of the coin is closure of factories elsewhere in the world. For example,Maine Industrial Tyres (U.S.A.) closed their Gorham factory, and relocated to, where else but, China.