ERJ staff report (DS)
Beijing - China's Rubber Industry Association says there is an urgent need to develop a world-class tyre proving ground in China. The Association says tyre testing needs to improve significantly in order to meet the needs of overseas markets. As a result, CRIA has recommended to the relevant state departments to build a tyre proving ground as soon as possible.
CRIA is seeking 10 billion Yuan in construction funds to build a large proving ground of 100-200 hectares.
CRIA cites as the top reason for this, the introduction of labels in Europe for wet grip, rolling resistance and other performance properties. There is, said CRIA, no public testing ground in China capable of accurately measuring this performance. Since the EU is now the largest export destination for Chinese tyres, this is seen as a major competitive disadvantage.
CRIA quoted data from China's National tyre rim Standardisation Technical Committee which showed that the best Chinese tyres only meet grade E, or F, in terms of the EU rolling resistance grades. These tyres will be illegal when the limits are upgraded with the EU's second stage.
Currently Chinese tyre makers test their products in conjunction with importers on European or other commercial test tracks. However, notes CRIA, this is not satisfactory for future test programmes. â€œif you want to continue to develop the markets in US and Europe, building a tyre proving without delay is critical,â€ said CRIA
CRIA notes that it is impossible to become an OE car tyre supplier without a proper proving ground. CRIA notes that Bridgestone has had a proving ground in China since 2007, while Continental has recently opened a winter proving ground in China - albeit for the chassis segment of the business.
The Association notes that now is the right time to build a proving ground, due to the development of technology among China's tyre makers. Two or three tyre makers are ready to work on the project and investors have been found to fund the project.
CRIA said Shandong Linglong started bulding a proving ground in 2007, located 26 km away from the Group's latest factory, covering an area of ??161.2 hectares. It added that Double Coin Holdings, Hangzhou Zhongce, Guangzhou, South China Tire Company and other companies also wanted to build tracks, but needed government approval, which was not forthcoming at the time.
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News report on CRIA website Chinese language
Above story auto-translated into English (from Chinese)