Latest news on the how the global Covid-19 pandemic is impacting manufacturing and supply-chain activities as well as scheduled exhibitions, conferences and meetings throughout the tire & rubber industries worldwide:
Friday 3 April
NR prices continue to fall
Natural rubber (NR) prices fell further over the past week, as Covid-19 spread continued to impact demand against a background of falling crude oil prices. Read more
Goodyear extends shutdowns at EMEA, Americas plants
Goodyear is extending a production halt at all its tire and retreading plants across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Americas "until further notice," the company announced 2 April. Read more
Tristone suspends production at eight plants
Tristone Flowtech has suspended production at eight global manufacturing facilities due to Covid-19 pandemic – a move that has led to “substantial partial unemployment” across the company. Read more
Rubber processors' shares decline
Shares of all major rubber goods companies continued to fall over the recent weeks as the Covid-19 pandemic sent markets into freefall at the end of March. Read more
Nissan halts UK, Spain production in April
Production at Nissan's British factory is suspended throughout April, continuing a shutdown in place since mid-March as the coronavirus outbreak continues across Europe. Nissan's sites in Spain are also suspended until further notice in line with the special measures put in place by the Spanish authorities.
Thursday 2 April
Michelin shareholders to meet 'behind closed doors'
Due to the global health crisis, Michelin Group has announced that its annual shareholders meeting will take place behind closed doors on 23 June. The French tire maker has also decided to reduce the amount of the proposed 2019 dividend to €2. Read more
Europe's car industry sees unprecedented crisis
"It is becoming increasingly clear that Covid-19 has led to the worst crisis ever to impact the automotive sector," said ACEA director general Eric-Mark Huitema said in a statement. Read more
Conti starts 'short-time' working in Germany, withdraws 2020 outlook
Continental Corp. has initiated reduced working hours across all its operations in Germany and is looking to implement similar measures elsewhere, the German group has announced. Read more
Giti idling US plant
Giti Tire (USA) Ltd. is planning to suspend production for two weeks at its plant in Richburg, starting 5 April, "to adjust for current market conditions due to the impact of Covid-19." Read more
AirBoss lands respirators deal
AirBoss of America Corp. has been awarded an €88m contract by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency for the manufacture of respirators and filters for the fight against Covid-19.
Europe's foam production could fall by 80%
Europe's flexible foam producers expect production to fall anywhere from 30 to 80% compared to normal conditions during the next few weeks, as the effects of the coronavirus crisis and national lockdowns hit the industry. Europe's flexible foam producers expect production to fall anywhere from 30 to 80 percent compared to normal conditions during the next few weeks, as the effects of the coronavirus crisis and national lockdowns hit the industry.
Pelma develops PU masks
Italian flexible foam company Pelma SpA has developed a disposable face mask using polyurethane foam that could be useful against exposure to the coronavirus. The masks are currently being tested and the results are due by the end of the week, according to the company.
Ford indefinitely delays reopening of North American auto plants
Ford Motor Co. is postponing for a second time the reopening of its North American manufacturing facilities amid the global surge in coronavirus cases. The auto maker said 30 March it will indefinitely delay the restart of production at plants in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. and declined to offer a restart date.
Wednesday 1 April
Triangle plants operating at 90% capacity
Triangle Tyre Co. Ltd.'s tire plants in China are back to operating near full capacity after a lull created by the Chinese New Year and subsequent coronavirus shutdown. Read more
Kraton operations deemed "essential"
The global pandemic has had limited impact on Kraton Corp.’s business and results, the US materials supplier announced 30 March. Read more
GDC lays off workers at six US plants
Automotive parts supplier GDC Inc. temporarily will lay off 293 employees in response to the slowdown in work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more
Cabot withdraws 2020 guidance
Cabot Corp. has withdrawn its financial guidance for fiscal year 2020 and is reducing planned capital expenditure in response to Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Tuesday 31 March
Trelleborg introduces cost-saving measures
Trelleborg has introduced shortened working hours, announced lay-off notices and redundancies, carried out temporary facility closures and reduced investments. Read more
NR demand to fall
The Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) expects the world consumption of natural rubber to fall 1.5% in 2020 to 13.53 million tonnes, after a sharp decline in demand in the first quarter. Read more
European automotive sales to fall
With factories and dealerships closed by the coronavirus crisis, European automotive sales could fall by up to 14% this year, according to consulting firm IHS Markit. Read more
Toyo halts US production
Toyo Tire has became the latest tire maker to idle its US operations temporarily, suspending manufacturing at its plant in White due to the global impact of Covid-19. Toyo said that phase down of production already has begun and will be completed within the next few days. The tire maker expects to resume production on April 19.
Linglong donates medical supplies to Serbia
Shandong Linglong Tyre, which is currently building a $1-billion tire plant in Serbia, has donated 300,000 disposable surgical masks, 2,000 sets of medical protective clothing, and 10,000 Covid-19 antibody test kits to the Serbian government, the company announced 25 March.
Monday 30 March
Rhein Chemie announces shutdowns, force majeure measures
Rhein Chemie has had to shut down production of certain tire additives and other products and declare force majeure, a spokeswoman for Cologne-based parent group Lanxess has informed ERJ. Read more
Premature closure at Michelin Dundee
French tire maker Michelin will not restart manufacturing at its production plant in Dundee, UK, when Covid-19 lock down restrictions are lifted. Read more
Nokian temporarily laying off all Finland staff
Nokian Tyres is temporarily laying off all 1,630 employees in Finland in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Read more
Marangoni preparing German site to supply European customers
Marangoni Retreading Systems is preparing its production site in Germany to serve European customers amid the continuing lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19 in Italy. Read more
Nexen continues tire production amid pandemic
Nexen Tire has continued to operate all facilities across its globe production network, the company has informed Tire Business, a US sister publication of ERJ. However, it noted, that the company is tracking demand, which is down due to the pandemic. A year ago, Nexen started up a $1bn greenfield tire plant in Zatec, Czech Republic.
Kumho to halt production at US plant
Kumho Tire USA Inc. is to idle its tire plant in Macon, Georgia, from 1-8 April, Tire Business has reported. The management is bringing a cleaning service to conduct a "thorough cleaning and sanitising" of the plant during the downtime. During the shutdown, Kumho plants in South Korea and Vietnam will support the US market need.
Kenda keeps tire plans operating worldwide
All Kenda tire plants are operating worldwide and shipping products to OE and replacement market customers, the company reported 27 March. The Taiwanese group operates two plants each in China and Vietnam and one plant each in Indonesia and Taiwan.
Yokohama stops West Point truck tire plant
Yokohama Tire Corp. is suspending production at its truck tire plant in West Point, Mississippi as of 28 March. The shutdown is expected to last for two weeks. The facility is undergoing sanitisation measures to ensure the health and safety of all personnel upon their return.
Friday 27 March
Sumitomo halts S Africa tire plant, non-tire facilities
Sumitomo Rubber Industries is continuing to operate its tire production facilities amid the global Covid crisis, with the exception of its tire plant in South Africa and certain rubber-products units. Read more
Pandemic takes toll on NR markets
Natural rubber prices have declined over recent weeks as Covid-19 pandemic impacted all global markets. The bearish trend was typified by a 10% decline on the Shanghai futures exchange over the two weeks to 20 March. Read more
Leoni to close plants, apply for state aid due to Covid
Leoni AG has closed production facilities in Europe, North Africa and the Americas due to the global pandemic and is introducing a “short-time work” scheme in Germany and other European locations. Read more
Pandemic to drive up investment in smart technology
The Covid-19 crisis will eventually force companies around the world to radically rethink how they operate and embrace investment in technology, forecasts ABI Research. Read more
Car makers continue suspensions
Volkswage Group is extending production halt in Germany while French group Renault is suspending output at plant in Bursa, Turkey. Read more
Pirelli calendar off
Pirelli & C. SpA has decided to cancel the production and launch of the 2021 Pirelli Calendar in view of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Read more
Rubber moulding machine maker targets support for pharma customers
French rubber moulding machine maker REP International has announced that its teams will be working remotely over the coming weeks due to the health crisis. The Corbas-based company added that its teams will prioritise support services for customers in the pharmaceuticals industry.
Global condom shortage?
The Covid crisis has forced Karex Berhad, producer of 20% of the world's condoms, to shutter its three factories in Malaysia. The shutdown, since early March, has already cost the production of 100 million fewer condoms, the company told Reuters – raising the possibility of a global shortage.
Thursday 26 March
Nokian idling two plants
Nokian Tyres plc is temporarily ceasing operations at its factories in the US and Russia in response to the global spread of Covid-19, the tire maker announced in a 26 March update. Read more
Hankook idling plants in US, Hungary
Hankook Tire is planning to idle production for two weeks at plants in the US and Hungary, starting 30 March, in response to the outbreak of Covid-19 and a decline in demand. Read more
PSA, Dongfeng start production in Wuhan
PSA Group's joint venture in China with Dongfeng Motor Group has announced that it has restarted car production at its plant in Wuhan city, the epicenter of China's coronavirus outbreak. PSA and Donfeng have two assembly plants in Wuhan and Chengdu and build Peugeot and Citroen models for China and other Asian markets.
Smiley Monroe scaling back
Conveyor belt producer Smiley Monroe is scaling back production due to the global outbreak of Covid-19, the company announced 24 March. Read more
Giti continues US operations
Giti Tire (USA) is continuing to operate its factory in South Carolina and five US distribution centres without interruption during the pandemic but said it is prepared to make "necessary adjustments as needed in a timely manner."
Wednesday 25 March
ETRMA: Europe’s tire industry needs recovery-support
The European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers Association has called for support measures to mitigate the increasingly severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Europe’s tire industry. Read more
Chinese tire makers resume production
Over 90% of China’s tire makers had resumed production as of the end of February, and most of those companies had 80% employees returning to posts. Read more
Nokian in talks over temporary layoffs
Nokian Tyres plc has entered a two-week negotiation period with employees over possible temporary layoffs in its Finland operations amid the Covid-19 outbreak and slow demand in Europe. Read more
Apollo halts Indian production
Apollo Tyres has suspended production at its manufacturing sites in India as the country enters a lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19 in the country. Read more
BKT idles plants amid India lockdown
India-based off-road tire maker BKT is shutting down its manufacturing units at Bhiwadi and Chopanki in Rajasthan, and at Waluj, Aurangabad in Maharashtra, at least until 31 March. The company’s Bhuj unit in state of Gujarat is also shut down at least until 25 March.
US mulls lifting medical device tariffs
In the US, the Office of the US Trade Representative is calling for comments, by 25 June, on possible removal of the Trump administration's tariffs on certain medical products from China to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Tuesday 24 March
Italy exempts rubber machinery makers
Manufacturers of rubber & plastics machinery in Italy have been given the green light to continue operations in a decree issued by the Italian government to curb the spread of Covid-19. Read more
Auto industry reports China rebound
Daimler, Volvo and suppliers say their factories in China are coming back online. Daimler has reopened its factory in China, where demand for cars is recovering, CEO Ola Kallenius said. Read more
Bridgestone closures, cutbacks in Europe
Bridgestone is closing its Béthune plant in France and Bari plant in Italy until 6 April, the tire makers announced 23 March. Production will, meanwhile, be curtailed at its Bilbao, Puente San Miguel and... Read more
Europe appeals for 3D printing capacity
The European Commission is asking industrial companies to make additive manufacturing capabilities available for the production of medical devices and equipment. Read more
Cefic calls for EU-wide solution to supply-chain issues
European chemicals industry group Cefic has called on the European Commission to support its efforts to maintain the supply of essential goods throughout Europe amid the Covid-19 crisis. Read more
Cooper shutdowns in Europe
Cooper Tire & Rubber will temporarily shut down its production plants in Melksham, UK and Kruševac, Serbia "in the coming days" in response to the outbreak of Covid-19, the company announced 23 March. Read more
Titan continues production in US
Titan International is keeping its US tire plants open as the federal government has deemed the food and farm industries as essential to the nation's fight against the coronavirus.
Monday 23 March
Apollo scales back European production
Apollo Vredestein is scaling back production at its European factories in Hungary and The Netherlands for a two-week period. The company will cease the production of passenger car tires at the two plants while "specific critical sizes" of farm tires will continue to be manufactured at the company's Dutch site in Enschede. Read more
Pirelli suspensions in Europe, US
Pirelli is halting production at some of its key European manufacturing plants and in the US in response to the outbreak. The tire maker is suspending manufacturing in the UK, Italy and Romania as of 23 March. Read more
Emergency-level output at Desma
Rubber moulding machinery manufacturer Desma is reducing production at its locations in Germany and Slovakia to an “emergency operation” level until 17 Apr, when it will review the situation. Read more
Cooper Tire phasing down in US, Mexico
Cooper Tire & Rubber has started phasing down production at its manufacturing plants in the US and Mexico. The company started scaling back production 21 March and plans to proceed "on a rolling schedule" over the coming week, with facilities expected to be closed for two to three weeks.
Temporary halts in Conti
German automotive group Continental has announced that it has temporarily stopped production at some of its manufacturing plants in the aftermath of the global outbreak of Covid-19, but did not give further details. Read more
Michelin North America closures
Michelin North America has begun to idle production at some of its tire plants in Canada and the US due to the broad effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Michelin is calling this a "phased" suspension of manufacturing that will last for at least two weeks but will exclude "vital and critical tires for the country's economic continuity."
Friday 20 March
Michelin shutdowns in Europe
Michelin is to close its production facilities in the European countries most affected by the Covid-19 crisis for at least a week. The French group did not specify which of its 25 plants in Europe were affected, Read more
Apollo Tyres’ leaders are taking voluntary pay-cuts in response to the impact of Covid-19 on the automotive industry. Chairman and MD Onkar S Kanwar and the vice chairman & MD, Neeraj Kanwar on 20 March announced a 25% reduction in their salary , with senior management worldwide agreeing a 15% cut as a “show of solidarity.”
World Rubber Summit
The World Rubber Summit 2020, scheduled to take place 4-6 May in Abidjan, Ivory Coast has been postponed done the global pandemic. In its announcement, the International Rubber Study Group said it is now looking into alternative dates for staging the event.
CV Show 2020
The Commercial Vehicle Show 2020, scheduled for 28-30 April in Birmingham, UK has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Organisers said postponement had been considered but “there were too many unknown variables to make this option possible.”
Bridgestone Americas suspension
Bridgestone Americas is to suspend production at its 15 plants in North America and Latin America from 21 March, but plans to resume operations by 12 April. The move, it said will help align supply with predicted market demand.
Thursday 19 March
Organisers of The Tire Cologne have postponed the 2020 event until May next year due to the global outbreak of Covid-19. (Read more)
Goodyear halts production
Goodyear is scaling back its operations across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and in Americas in response to the outbreak and “sudden decline in market demand.” (Read more)
More car makers halt production
US major car makers join European rivals in suspending operations at vehicle manufacturing plants. (Read more)
Tuesday 17 March
Wacker Chemie AG expects the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic to have a negative impact of more than €100 million on its annual earnings in 2020. (Read more)
EU car demand falls
The EU passenger car market contracted by 7.4% to just over 957,000 units registered during the month of February, according to the data released by the ACEA. (Read more)
Monday 16 March
Car plant shutdowns
PSA Group, Renault, Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler announce European shutdowns 16 March due to the outbreak. (Read more).
Conti AGM postponed
Continental Corp. is postponing its 2020 annual shareholders’ meeting which was originally planned for 30 April. The German automotive group is keeping Hanover as the location for the but is to announce new dates soon. (Read more)
Trelleborg operations continue
Production operations of Trelleborg AB are still ongoing in Europe at this point in time, the Swedish rubber group said in a statement to ERJ. (Read more)
In a statement to ERJ, Italian-based Tyre Retreading Machinery (TRM) is currently operating under normal conditions but expects ‘further complications’ as the country forces lock-downs to fight the spread of the virus. (Read more)
The Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) revised down its global production and consumption figures for natural rubber (NR) in 2020 after a sharp decline in demand in the first two months of the year. (Read more)
ETRA annual meeting
The European Tyre Recycling Association (ETRA) postponed its 27th annual conference to early September. (Read more)
The International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP) has postponed its annual general meeting because of the ongoing threat posed by the coronavirus, (Read more)