Frankfurt, Germany – Continental Corp. is continuing to expand its tire business into new regions despite current market challenges, according to Christian Koetz, head of the tire division and corporate purchasing.
As part of the Vision 2025, the German Tier 1 has been expanding its global footprint, and in its latest move, the tire maker is set to start production of truck tires in Clinton, Mississippi, later this year.
“The tire business is a volume business,” explained Koetz in an interview at the IAA 2019 Frankfurt motor show. “We have to expand to compete with the major global players.”
Continental supplies about 33% of the tires used by OEM manufacturers in Europe. But Koetz is not concerned about the falling demand in the home region.
“When the new car market slows down, usually we’ll see aftermarket sales start to increase as people keep their cars for longer, but those aftermarket sales [in Europe] are also fractionally down,” he said.
As for production, Koetz said that raw material prices had caused a “headwind” for the company, but new efficient manufacturing technologies had helped to off-set those unfavourable costs.
He also noted that the tire division was investigating ways to be more sustainable, including reusing reclaimed material from recycled tires.
The company has a reclamation plant in Slovakia which is specifically designed to remove the steel belting from tyres so it can be used in new product.
In addition, the company is investigating ways to recover more compound from old tire for reuse.