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:
Wednesday 12 Aug
RubberTech China to go ahead as planned
RubberTech China 2020 will take place 16-18 September in Shanghai, as previously planned, according to event organiser China United Rubber Corp (CURC). Read more
UK chemicals industry reports halt in 2020 declines
After months of severe business declines, UK chemicals manufacturers are now reporting stability or improvement, according to the Chemical Industries Association (CIA). Read more
Toyo first half results down double-digits
Toyo Tire Corp. posted 48.3% lower operating income for the six months ended June 30 on 15.7% lower sales, prompting management to project double-digit declines in sales and earnings for the full fiscal year. Read more
Datwyler confident about second half
Datwyler Holding is “generally confident” about the second half of 2020, despite a “massive slump” in demand within its automotive and oil industry target markets. Read more
Sumitomo dips into red
Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (SRI) fell into the red on an operating and net basis for the six months ended 30 June on 21% lower sales, reflecting "extremely harsh" global economic conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Cooper Standard sees "bright spots" in challenging second quarter
Northville, Michigan-based Cooper Standard has reported net loss of $134 million in the first half, as second quarter poses “unprecedented challenges”. Read more
World Rubber Summit 2020 cancelled
The World Rubber Summit 2020 (WRS 2020) has been cancelled and the next edition of the event will be held in 2021, according organisers, the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). Read more
Bridgestone results down double-digits in first half
Bridgestone Corp. posted a 68.3% drop in operating income and a net loss for the six months ended 30 June on 22.1% lower sales. Read more
Rubber goods, ATG keep Yokohama in the black
The Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted Yokohama Rubber Co.’s profits in the first half, as demand particularly declined in the tires segment. Read more
Cabot expects "significant" pick-up in demand
Despite a 'dramatic Covid impact' on its third quarter sales and earnings, Cabot Corp. sees signs of recovery in the market as production starts to pick up in the automotive and tire industries. Read more
Rodolfo Comerio reports 15% growth in Q2 sales
Rodolfo Comerio, an Italian manufacturer of calendaring lines for rubber and PVC industries, has reported a 15% increase in second quarter revenue on the back of a “huge order hike”. Read more
NR consumption set for 2.6% increase
Natural rubber (NR) demand is set for a 2.6% increase in the three months to end of October, following seven months of consecutive declines, according to the latest data by the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC). Read more
VDMA: German rubber & plastics machinery segment in “nosedive”
Following an ‘unsurprising' 6% decline in 2019, the German rubber & plastics machinery industry is now in a "nosedive" due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, according to the mechanical engineering industry association VDMA. Read more
Pirelli “contains” Covid effects, further cuts sales outlook
Despite double-digit declines in first half results and a net loss of over €100 million, Pirelli & C. SpA says it has 'contained' the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, learning from experience gained in China. Read more
Apollo sees June recovery in Indian replacement tire market
Despite being ‘deeply impacted’ by Covid-19 pandemic, Apollo Tyres has seen a strong recovery in the Indian replacement market in the month of June. Read more
US auto trade show SEMA cancelled
The US-based Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has decided to cancel the 2020 edition of the event due Covid-19 and the uncertainty it presents for a major trade show. Read more
Wednesday 5 Aug
Conti expects car tire demand to “normalise” in third quarter
Continental AG’s Rubber Technologies Group has seen its earnings more than halved for the first half of 2020, but the group expects a slight recovery in the tire market in the second half of the year. Read more
Nokian first half sales, earnings drop amid global pandemic
Nokian Tyres plc has reported significant declines in both half year sales and earnings, as Covid-19 pandemic continued to take its toll on the business. Read more
Lower volumes weigh on Sibur elastomer sales
Sibur Holding has seen a double-digit decline in its elastomers sales for the first half of 2020, due mainly to lower volumes. Read more
Cooper eyes second half recovery after double-digit drops
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. suffered an 83.2% drop in operating income in the quarter that ended 30 June on 29.6% lower sales, results attributed to the implosion of economic activity due to the global pandemic. Read more
Hankook second quarter sales, earnings fall
Hankook Tire has reported significant declines in sales and operating profit for the second quarter of 2020 amid the global economic downturn caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
USTMA revises 2020 replacement market forecast up slightly
The US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) is revising its 2020 tire shipments projection slightly upward, based on less pessimistic projections for replacement market shipments for the remainder of the year. Read more
Zeon’s elastomers unit reports "drastic" drop in results
Zeon Corp.'s elastomers business has reported a major drop in its results for the first quarter, ended 30 June, due to the weakening global economy which was hit by the “languishing US-China trade friction” and the outbreak of Covid-19. Read more
Goodyear optimistic despite 41% sales decline
While Goodyear fell into the red on an operating and net basis for the quarter and six months ended 30 June, company management said it believes the firm has positioned itself to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and grow in the future. Read more
Trinseo believes worst of Covid now "behind us"
While Covid-19 took a heavy toll on Trinseo SA’s second quarter sales and earnings, the company believes the worst business impacts of the pandemic are now behind it. Read more
Wacker reports weak results as demand declines
German chemicals supplier Wacker Chemie AG has reported declines in second quarter sales and earnings (EBITDA), as Covid-19 impacted demand and volumes. Read more
Wednesday 29 July
German auto supplier sets up production line for face masks
Automotive supplier KB Backhaus GmbH has expanded its manufacturing to include series production of face masks, in response to Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Update: Michelin posts steep declines in sales, earnings
Group Michelin has seen its first half results significantly impacted by the Covid pandemic and the ensuing slow demand. Read more
US-based International Elastomer Conference goes virtual
The ACS Rubber Division has made the decision to take its 2020 International Elastomer Conference virtual because of the continued impact of the coronavirus global pandemic. Read more
GPSNR general assembly 2020 to be held virtually
The second general assembly (GA) of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) will be convened virtually on 23 Sept, the organisation has announced. Read more
IRSG: Global rubber demand to fall 12% in 2020
Global rubber demand is expected to fall 12.6% year-on-year to 25.2 million tonnes in 2020, according to the latest figures published by the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG). Read more
Italian rubber & plastics machinery makers report ‘dire' trading conditions
Declining trade and low demand caused by Covid-19 pandemic have hit the Italian rubber & plastics machinery industry, with full recovery only likely in 2022, according to trade association Amaplast. Read more
US union alleges Covid safety violations at Kumho plant
The United Steelworkers and company officials are at odds over Covid-19 conditions at a Kumho Tire USA Inc. plant in Georgia. Read more
Polymer industry show Fakuma called off for 2020
The organiser of the Fakuma trade show has announced to exhibitors that it is canceling the 2020 event, which had been scheduled for 13-17 Oct. Read more
Enviro, Michelin extend partnership deal as Covid stalls talks
Michelin and Swedish tire pyrolysis company Scandinavian Enviro Systems (SES) have extended a letter of intent, signed earlier in the year, to establish a strategic partnership. Read more
NGO urges EU to condition Covid support to environmental commitment
As the EU heads of state finally agree on a Covid-19 recovery plan, environmental campaign group Mighty Earth has called for a revival of the tire & rubber industry in line with the European Green Deal. Read more
Covid saw 90,000 short-time workers in German chemicals industry
German chemicals industry saw nearly 90,000 employees put on short-time scheme as Covid-19 peaked in the country in early May. Read more
Wednesday 22 July
Trelleborg launches €70m restructuring plan
Trelleborg AB's announcement of restructuring measures on 20 July follows a challenging first half of trading for the Sweden-based rubber-based products and systems manufacturer. Read more
Hexpol sales, profits plummet as Covid lowers demand
Slow demand caused by Covid-19 has resulted in double-digit drops Hexpol AB’s half-year results as the Swedish group continues ‘intensive work’ to cut costs. Read more
Elkem breaks even, silicones profits hit by Covid
Elkem SA has reported a flat second quarter despite slow demand and the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Wednesday 15 July
EU tire markets post "worst results", full recovery “far away”
European replacement tire markets have posted their "worst results" in the second quarter and a full recovery is still “far away”, according to the latest figures published by the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA)”. Read more
Conti looks to save ‘several hundred million euros’, cut jobsContinental AG is looking to reduce investment, decrease working capital and cut labour and material costs in a bid to address the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Italy's Autopromotec postponed until 2022
The organiser of Autopromotec, the biennial exhibition of automotive equipment and aftermarket products held in Bologna, has canceled the 2021 edition of the show and rescheduled it for late May 2022. Read more
ETRMA, automotive value chain welcome EU skills agenda
A grouping of four European automotive value chain associations, including the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA), have voiced their support for a skills agenda which was presented to the European Commission 1 July. Read more
ANRPC: Natural rubber prices on recovery track
A recovery trend for natural rubber (NR) prices observed in late May and early June in the Far East markets has been broken, due in part to fears of a second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC). Read more
Wednesday 8 July
UK supplier develops anti-microbial silicone for Covid masks
Silicone Engineering Ltd has launched a new “groundbreaking” anti-microbial silicones material for Covid-19 face shields used by healthcare, retail and hospitality workers. Read more
Gates donating €470k to global Covid response teams
Gates Corp. is donating more than $530,000 (€470,000) to organisations responding to Covid-19 pandemic globally, the US supplier of fluid power and power transmission systems announced 1 July. Read more
Wednesday 1 July
Dunlop Aircraft Tyres to cut 200 jobs as Covid impacts demand
Consultation has started between Dunlop Aircraft Tyres Ltd (DATL) and trade unions over plans to cut 200 jobs at the Birmingham-based company, as Covid-19 takes its toll on the aviation industry. Read more
Sensata to cut 160 jobs at Northern Ireland TPMS production factory
Sensata Technologies is planning to cut 160 jobs at its tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) production facility in Antrim, the company has announced. Read more
Organisers cancel 2021 Geneva Motor Show
The Geneva auto show will not be held in 2021, the organisers have announced. Read more
Wednesday 24 June
Michelin says can weather Covid crisis
Michelin has announced that it has taken the necessary measures to strengthen its financial backbone to weather the Covid-19 crisis without drawing down its confirmed lines of credit. Read more
Bridgestone top execs to take pandemic-related pay cuts
Bridgestone Corp.'s top executives have agreed to take cuts of up to 30 percent in their compensation packages for fiscal 2020 in line with the company's efforts to deal with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
UK chemicals sector reports 60% decline in order books, sales
The UK’s chemicals industry has registered a “major decline” in order books and current sales, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest supply chain trends survey by the Chemical Business Association (CBA). Read more
Desma injection moulding machines for face masks
Due to urgently needed face masks, Desma made an express delivery of an injection moulding machine including installation and start-up possible for a Spanish customer. “The production could be started so quickly that even the Spanish TV reported about it,” said a 12 June release from the German machine maker.
Covid to cause 'major setback' in aircraft tires market
Aircraft tire suppliers are likely to suffer ‘major setback’ in growth due to the global Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent grounding of aviation business, a recent research by US-based Global Market Insights suggests. Read more
European car plants reopen, with output well below capacity
Most European auto assembly plants have reopened after weeks or even months of inactivity under coronavirus lockdowns, but few are operating at anything close to full capacity, automakers and analysts say. Read more
Thursday 18 June
Michelin cites Covid for output cut at US aircraft tire plant
Michelin North America Inc.'s aircraft tire plant in Norwood is operating at reduced hours due to the economic impact of Covid-19. Read more
JK Tyre reports fourth quarter loss due to pandemic
India’s JK Tyre & Industries Ltd (JK Tyre) has reported a consolidated net loss of INR530 million (€6 million) for the fourth quarter of the financial year ended 31 March, due mainly to Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
UK association warns against waste tire stockpiling amid Covid relaxation
The Tyre Recovery Association (TRA) has warned against the increased risk of ‘dead-end’ storage of waste tires by operators due to the Covid-related relaxation of stockpile permitting rules. Read more
EU new car demand fall 52% in May
The European passenger car market suffered another sharp year-on-year drop in May, with registrations falling by 52.3%. Read more
Goodyear seeing signs of US retail business recovery
While Goodyear expects its tire sales volume to drop roughly 50% in the quarter ending 30 June, it's seeing business at the retail level returning to near pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels, CFO Darren Wells told analysts in a 10 June conference call. Read more
Thursday 11 June
Tire makers take action
Tire makers large and small are implementing a range of measures designed to mitigate the expected financial impact of what many see as the potential for a deep and drawn-out pandemic-induced recession. Read more
US tire show to be held virtually
The International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC), scheduled to be held in Akron this summer, will switch to a virtual format due to health concerns and travel restrictions caused by Covid-19, organisers have announced. Read more
Wednesday 10 June
Consulting group predicts 32% decline for European car market
European auto sales could fall by at least 32% this year to 14.1 million units from 20.6 million in 2019 because of the coronavirus crisis, the largest decline among major markets, US consulting group AlixPartners has said. Read more
US associations calls for Covid liability protections
The US hosing association as well as other businesses are seeking liability protection from Congress against what they consider frivolous lawsuits stemming from the Covid-19 outbreak. Read more
Tuesday 9 June
Tire makers expecting significant declines in Q2 results
Major tire makers expect an 'even worse' second quarter results due to Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on production and demand. Read more
Pirelli offers serological Covid tests for Italian staff
Pirelli in cooperation with the San Raffaele Hospital and the University of Milan, is offering serological screening for Covid-19 to more than 3,000 employees in Italy. Read more
Monday 8 June
Bridgestone US plant sees more Covid cases
Production has ‘safely’ continued at Bridgestone Americas' farm tire plant in Des Moines despite a rise in confirmed cases of Covid-19 among employees, the company said in a recent statement. Read more
Goodyear volumes dropping 50%
Goodyear is forecasting tire volumes will plunge roughly 50% in the second quarter versus the same period in 2019, or roughly 25 million units, as a result of the global Covid pandemic. Read more
Friday 5 June
Production restarts at Michelin's plants in Mexico
Michelin has restarted production at its plants in Leon and Queretaro, Mexico, "in accordance with the stipulations and recommendations" by the federal government and the Secretary of Health of Mexico. Read more
Wednesday 3 June
Engel develops Covid swabs
Injection moulding machinery maker Engel Austria and German moulding specialist Hack Formenbau have joined hands to deliver an ‘integrated system’ for high-volume production of test swabs for Covid-19. Read more
Arlanxeo produces disinfectants to help Covid fight
Arlanxeo is producing more than 10,000 litres of hand sanitiser in Dormagen, as part of its efforts to help curb Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
RIEG to hold technical session online
UK-based Rubber in Engineering Group (RIEG) is holding is next afternoon technical discussion meeting online due to Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Tuesday 2 June
Cooper restarts production at Mexican tire plant
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has begun the process of restarting production at its tire plant in El Salto, which has been idled since 28 April. Read more
Yokohama restarts US tire plant
Yokohama Corp. of North America has announced plans to restart production at its passenger/light truck tire plant in Salem, ending eight weeks of being idled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Michelin taking Movin' On Summit online
Group Michelin has organised a series of digital presentations under its "Movin'On Summit 2020" banner to cover some of the topics originally scheduled for the now-cancelled three-day "sustainable mobility challenge" event in Montreal. The Movin'On Digital Meetings will be held 3-4 June and will be available to all interested parties.
GRI implements safety procedures at all facilities
Sri Lanka’s Global Rubber Industries (Pvt.) has implemented strict operational procedures as its plants remain open and operational during the global Covid-19 pandemic. Among the steps GRI has taken at its factories to minimise exposure are sanitising facilities regularly and holding regular mock drills to prepare for any situations.
Wednesday 27 May
European bodies call for ambitious auto recovery plan
A grouping of European business organisations and trade bodies, including the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA), have called for a “bold industrial recovery plan” to revive the region’s automotive sector following Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Tuesday 26 May
Nokian profits fall 70%
Nokian Tyres plc has reported double-digit declines in both sales and profits for the first quarter of 2020, due mainly to Covid-19 pandemic and lower volumes in Russia. Read more
Pirelli launches welfare initiative for employees
Pirelli & C. SpA has launched a ‘strictly-online’ welfare initiative for its employees and their families to support them through the Covid-19 emergency. Read more
New dates announced for rubber event RubberCon 2020
New dates have been announced for global rubber event RubberCon 2020 which was delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
New York auto show cancelled amid crisis conditions
Organisers of the New York auto show are cancelling the event this year after having pushed back the show until August. The decision was made due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the venue's use as a field hospital, Reuters reported.
Jaguar Land Rover seeking UK virus aid package
Jaguar Land Rover is seeking a government aid package to weather a collapse in car sales brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, according to ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe. The UK-based automaker is in talks to borrow more than £1 billion (€1.1 billion) through the British government's emergency lending program, Bloomberg and Sky News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Friday 22 May
Yokohama Rubber Q1 profit plunges 90%
The Yokohama Rubber Co. has seen its first quarter profits drop sharply due in part to slow demand caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
NR prices show signs of recovery
Natural rubber (NR) prices have recovered slightly from a sharp downtrend registered over the recent months. Read more
Report: Renault may close French plants to cut costs
Renault is considering closing component and assembly plants in France as part of a €2bn cost-cutting plan, French news media reported. Among the factories said to be in danger are Renault’s assembly plant in Flins, near Paris, according to reports in financial daily Les Echos and the political newspaper Le Canard Enchaine.
Wednesday 20 May
Bridgestone announces new temporary production halts in Japan
Bridgestone Corp. has announced a temporary phased shutdown of a number of its plants in Japan in response to what it described as the “market situation and decline in the demand”. Read more
Nokian testing Russian employees
Nokian Tyres announced 19 May that it had started testing all employees at its production factory in Vsevolozhsk, Russia. The testing is expected to last approximately three weeks, while production will continue during the testing period. The Finnish tire maker also announce that it had resumed construction work on its
testing centre in Santa Cruz de la Zarza, Spain.
Toyo Tire reports 32% decline in profitability
Toyo Tire Corp.'s first quarter results were impacted by a “sharp downturn” in consumer spending due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the company announced 12 May. Read more
Sumitomo Rubber's Q1 profits drop 54% on lower sales volume
Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.'s (SRI) operating profit for the quarter ended 31 March fell 54.1% to $25.3 million (€23 million) on 9.7% lower sales as the company dealt with the global economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Tuesday 19 May
EU car demand falls 76%
New-car registrations in the European Union fell 76.3% year-on-year to 270,682 units during the month of April, registering the sharpest monthly drop in car demand since records began. Read more
Hankook sales, profit hit
Hankook Tire has reported double-digit declines in sales and operating profit for the first quarter due in part to low demand caused by Covid-19 outbreak. Read more
Monday 18 May
Toyo withdraws 2020 financial outlook
Toyo Tire Corp. has withdrawn its full year financial forecast for the year ending 31 December, due to uncertainties caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
German rubber industry poised for double-digit decline
The German rubber industry is bracing for a “difficult phase” as Covid-19 pandemic hits the industry. Read more
Mercedes suspends US production
Daimler is suspending production at a Mercedes-Benz SUV plant due to a shortage of parts supplied from Mexico, Bloomberg reported 15 May. The Vance, Alabama, operation will not build vehicles next week, according to an internal notice viewed by Bloomberg.
Friday 15 May
Pirelli to resume production in UK shortly
Pirelli UK is to restart production at its tire manufacturing plants in Carlisle and Burton-on-Trent as of 18 May. Read more
Cabot braces for ‘severe Covid impact’
Cabot Corp. has seen a decline in second quarter results for its reinforcement materials segment as a result of Covid-19 pandemic but expects even more significant impact in the coming months. Read more
Suppliers increasingly worried about recovery
European automotive suppliers are feeling increasingly concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses, a new survey has found. Read more
DuPont idles 50% of polymers capacity
DuPont has temporarily shut 50% of its plastics and elastomers capacity: idling production at several sites within the group's Transportation & Industrial unit. The move is in response to the downturn in automotive demand caused by the global pandemic, CEO Ed Breen told analysts in a first-quarter earnings call.
BMW expects very slow recovery in EU, US
Despite a rebound in China in April, BMW expects markets in Europe and the US will be "very slow" to recover from the corona pandemic, according to Reuters. After China sales fell 88% in February, deliveries rose 14% in April, thanks to pent-up demand in a market where vehicle ownership is relatively low by global standards, BMW said.
Thursday 14 May
Pirelli sales, profitability fall amid Covid crisis
Pirelli’s first quarter results were strongly impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19 as the company’s production underwent “significant discontinuities” during the period. Read more
Cooper Tire to restart UK plant mid-June
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is reopening its tire manufacturing plant in Melksham, UK, in the first half of June, the company announced 13 May. Read more
Wednesday 13 May
Bridgestone reopening North American tire plants
Bridgestone Americas Inc. will reopen its North American passenger tire plants and all factories in Latin America by the end of the month, the final phase of its restarting initiative in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
ETRMA voices support for ‘green’ Covid recovery
The European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) has voiced its full support for a green post-Covid economic recovery, calling for a regulatory framework to achieve “climate neutrality and digital transition.” Read more
Trinseo first quarter sales fall 18%
Trinseo SA’s synthetic rubber (SR) business has reported a double-digit decline in first quarter sales due in part to Covid-19. Read more
Tuesday 12 May
Bridgestone results hit by Covid pandemic
Bridgestone Corp. results have been significantly impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, which led to global production suspensions and low demand. Read more
IRC2020 to be held next April
The International Rubber Conference Organisaiton (IRCO) has announced new dates for global rubber event IRC2020, which was postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Parker braces for challenging months ahead
Parker Hannifin Corp. has reported marginal Covid-19 impact on its results for the quarter ending 31 March, but expects a more challenging environment in the coming months. Read more
Brembo sees 'significant' coronavirus impact for rest of year
Italian premium brakes maker Brembo said the crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic would continue to have a big impact on its performance this year, after its core profit fell by 24% in the first quarter. According to Reuters, the supplier now believes its earlier forecast for the financial year “to be probably wrong”.
Honda plunges to loss after coronavirus hit
Honda plunged to a Yen5.6 billion (€48 million) operating loss in the latest quarter amid slumping sales as the coronavirus pandemic hammered the global economy. Operating profit swung into the red in fiscal fourth quarter ended 31 March, from Yen42.3 billion the year before, according to a report by ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe.
Toyota quarterly profit falls 28% on pandemic impact
Toyota's operating profit fell 28% and net income plunged 86% in the latest quarter as the coronavirus pandemic forced worldwide factory closures and hit vehicle sales.
Operating profit dropped to 384.0 billion yen (€3.3 billion) in the company's fiscal fourth quarter ended 31 March, according to a report by ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe.
Monday 11 May
Orion's rubber black segment hit by pandemic
Orion Engineered Carbons has seen rubber carbon black volumes decrease by 11% year on year to 177 kilotonnes in the first three months of 2020 as a majority of tire and auto manufacturers idled plants from mid-March. Read more
Cooper Tire suffers operating, net losses
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. reported operating and net losses in the quarter ended 31 March as sales fell 14.1% to €490 million. Read more
Automakers at risk of hard production hits
Coronavirus-related factory stoppages have affected every automaker, but some are suffering more than others, an analysis found. Companies with more capacity in China, where the lockdowns were relatively short and focused on the province of Hubei, fared better than those heavily invested in Europe, India and North America, LMC Automotive said. Overall LMC is forecasting that global auto production will fall by 20% to about 71 million vehicles, according to a report by ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe.
Denso reports 81% drop in profitability
Automotive components producer Denso Corp. has reported an 80.7% decline in full year operating profit to Yen61 billion (€525 million), due mainly to Covid-19 pandemic and quality cost provisions. Read more
Thursday 7 May
Conti develops health strategy
Continental Corp. has developed a “comprehensive strategy” for safe production during a pandemic and is currently applying the protocol across all its locations, the German automotive group has announced. The blueprint is based on a hazard assessment of all workplaces and includes a broad range of suitable protective measures such as the installation of Plexiglas dividers, a substantial increase cleaning, shortened or staggered shifts and social distancing.
Production resumes at Kumho's tire plant in US
Kumho Tire USA Inc. is reopening its tire plant in Georgia, the company has announced. Read more
Synthomer donates gloves to Italian hospital
Synthomer plc is donating 450,000 medical gloves to a hospital near its Filago, plant to help in the fight against Covid-19. Read more
Michelin commits to a green economic restart
Michelin has joined an initiative led by Swiss-based Solar Impulse Foundation to promote sustainability and give the economy a ‘green’ restart, particularly in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Further Conti cutbacks as Covid impact intensifies
Weak first quarter results and the prospect of an even weaker second quarter have prompted a series of new cost-cutting measures at Continental Corp., the German group announced 7 May. Read more
Wednesday 6 May
Pirelli restarting US plant
Pirelli Tire North America Inc. has restarted production at its passenger tire plant in Rome, ending a five-week hiatus that the company instituted as part of its effort to curb Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
European auto sector calls for incentives to kickstart recovery
Four European automotive associations have published a 25-point action plan for the restart of the economy and the automotive sector, which has been particularly hit by the outbreak of Covid-19 since mid-March. Read more
UK chemicals boss blasts Brexit strategy amid ‘perfect storm’
In a 28 April message to the UK Chemical Business Association (CBA), chairman Darren Budd described the challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit as ‘perfect storm’ for many companies. Read more
Wacker introduces ‘short working’ scheme
Wacker Chemie AG has introduced ‘short working’ scheme at several of its operations in Germany, effective 1 May. Read more
Tuesday 5 May
Leoni granted €330m loan
German automotive wiring supplier Leoni AG has secured a €330-million loan, 90% of which will be paid by the German government. Read more
UK car sales fall 97%
New-car sales dropped by 97% in the month of April, to the lowest level of any month since February 1946, according to Reuters. About 4,000 cars were registered last month with most of the sales being business fleet purchases, according to preliminary data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Monday 4 May
Bridgestone reports eight Covid cases at US factory
Eight employees at Bridgestone Americas Inc.'s Des Moines agricultural tire plant have tested positive for Covid-19 as of 1 May, the company has confirmed. Read more
JSR expects loss in elastomers business
JSR expects the elastomers business to register a negative Yen5 billion operating profit, due mainly to the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Materials firms hit hard in financial results
The financial impact of Covid-19 is being felt at public firms across the US-based polymer industry. Read more
Kia exec sees European sales returning to normal in the summer
New-car sales in Europe could return to a "more or less" normal level in July as measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus are relaxed, according to Kia Europe's chief operating officer. Before then, registrations will be down steeply -- with volumes for April "catastrophic," Emilio Herrera ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe in an interview.
French car market falls 89% in April
New-car sales in France fell by 89% to 20,997 in April, according to industry group CCFA. Read more
Friday 1 May
Pirelli preparing to resume production in Italy
Pirelli is preparing for a gradual return to activity in Italy on 4 May, following production suspensions introduced to curb Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Michelin Q1 sales drop 8%
Group Michelin's revenue for the first three months of 2020 fell 8.3% to €5.32 billion, as unit sales dropped 11.7% due to the Covid-19 pandemic-induced economic downturn. Read more
Smiley Monroe resumes operations at ‘reduced capacity’
Conveyor belt producer Smiley Monroe is resuming all production activities across its sites in Northern Ireland as of 5 May. Read more
Toyo to reopen US plant 3 May
Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. is planning to restart production at its tire factory in White on 3 May, with manufacturing ramping up gradually. Read more
Conti delays spin-off of powertrain unit due to Covid
Continental Corp. has delayed the spinning off of its powertrain unit Vitesco Technologies, due to the ongoing economic uncertainty caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Dow to idle five plants in Americas
Materials giant Dow Inc. will idle five plants in the Americas for at least one month in response to the Covid-19 crisis. In an earnings call on 30 April, the company said Dow's polyurethanes and silicones units would run at reduced global rates.
Thursday 30 April
Synthomer withdraws financial guidance
UK polymer group Syntheomer plc is reducing its capital expenditure and withdrawing its full-year financial guidance due to uncertainties caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Ford UK employee dies of suspect Covid
An employee who worked at Ford's engine plant in Dagenham, England, has died of suspected Covid-19. The death was disclosed by Ford CEO Jim Hackett during the automaker's first-quarter earnings call on 28 April, according to ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe.
Deadline to submit ITEC paper proposals extended
The deadline to submit papers for the International Tire Exhibition & Conference has been extended. New deadline is now 1 June for papers to be presented at the event which will be held in Akron, Ohio, 15-17 Sept. Read more
Rubber Division extends deadline for conference abstracts
The ACS Rubber Division has extended its deadline to submit abstracts for the 2020 International Elastomer Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee., taking place 20-22 October. All abstracts received by 1 May will be considered.
Wednesday 29 April
BKT partially reopens Indian factories
Indian off-highway tire manufacturer Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) has partially restarted manufacturing in all its factories, following dialogue with and approval by local governments. Read more
Rubber events IRC2020, RubberCon postponed
Two major global rubber events, IRC2020 and RubberCon2020 have been postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic, according to orgnisers. Read more
New car sales fall 98% in Italy
New-car sales in Italy fell 98% in the first 24 days of April compared with the same period in 2019. Read more
Bridgestone introduces health playbook
Bridgestone Americas Inc. has developed an environmental health safety & sustainability (EHSS) Playbook that outlines all measures that must be taken at every location in North America before it reopens. Read more
Bridgestone US employee tests positive for Covid
Bridgestone Americas Inc. has confirmed that an employee at the company's Des Moines, Iowa, ag tire plant has tested positive for the coronavirus. In a statement to ERJ sister publication Tire Business, the company said it received confirmation of the positive Covid-19 test on 23 April, and the employee is in isolation at home.
Ford to resume European output starting 4 May
Ford will reopen the majority of its European production plants starting 4 May. The automaker will restart its vehicle assembly facilities at Saarlouis and Cologne in Germany, in Craiova in Romania, in Valencia in Spain, and in Golcuk and Yenikoy in Turkey from that date, Ford said in a news release. It will also resume engine production at Cologne and Craiova starting 4 May. Its Valencia engine plant will restart 18 May.
Ford expects $5 billion operating loss in Q2
Ford Motor expects an operating loss of more than $5 billion in the second quarter as the financial toll of the coronavirus crisis continues to worsen. The automaker said 28 April that it lost $632 million before interest and taxes in the first quarter, although it made $346 million before interest and taxes in North America, according to a report by ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe.
Tuesday 28 April
Apollo restarts production in Hungary
Apollo Tyres Ltd has resumed production operations at most of its manufacturing sites in India and Europe, according to a 25 April BSE filing. Read more
US tire shipments to fall 18% in 2020
US tire shipments could fall nearly 18% this year from 2019 as a result of Covid-19 pandemic-induced lower demand, according to a shipments update from the US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA). Read more
Lehvoss TPU for dishwasher-friendly masks
German 3D-printing specialist LMD Innovation GmbH has developed professional respiratory masks for protection against Covid-19, using elastic thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) materials from Lehvoss. Read more
Michelin issues health protocol
Michelin has published a health protocol for all of its industrial sites as the French group gradually resumes production activities across its manufacturing bases. Read more
Monday 27 April
Trelleborg results hit by Covid
Trelleborg AB has seen its first quarter results hit by the outbreak of Covid-19 and expects the pandemic to impact sales and earnings “significantly more” during the coming quarters. Read more
Nokian restarting US factory
Nokian Tyres Inc. plans to restart production at its Dayton factory on 4 May, ending a five-week-long Covid-19-induced shutdown. Read more
Yokohama to restart commercial tire plant in US
Yokohama Corp. of North America will restart production 27 April at its commercial tire plant in West Point, which the company idled 28 March. Read more
Auto sales forecasts tumble
Analysts continue to revise their sales forecasts downward in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, even as the global automotive industry starts to stir to life again. Read more
BMW, VW rebooting factories
BMW and Volkswagen are among European automakers rebooting their car factories to take advantage of easing coronavirus lockdown rules, according to ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe. VW will restart production at its home plant in Wolfsburg on 27 April, while BMW is cranking up engine manufacturing, also starting today.
Bridgestone joins PPE production
Bridgestone Corp. is using resources at its Americas Technical Centre in Akron to secure personal protective equipment for local Ohio hospitals. Employees at the technical centre are using the company's prototyping technology, Bridgestone said, and their personal 3D printers to produce reusable face shields that are being donated to local hospitals and front-line workers in Northeast Ohio.
Friday 24 April
Company leaders call for united Europe to face Covid
A group of CEOs from leading chemicals and automotive companies have called on the EU leaders to have a united front in their move to tackle the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Cooper Tire to restart US, Serbia factories
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is planning to restart production starting 27 April at its idled plants in the US and Serbia, while at the same time idling its plant in Mexico a second time due to a Mexican government ruling. Read more
Hankook reopens US tire production plant
Hankook Tire & Technology has resumed production at its tire plant in Clarksville, the company has announced. Read more
Jaguar Land Rover restarts some Europe production to meet China demand
Jaguar Land Rover will begin building cars again in Europe next month as customers return to showrooms in China, a key market for the automaker. JLR's plants in Solihull, UK, and Nitra, Slovakia, will resume production on 10 May, the company said in a release on 23 April. Contract manufacturer Magna Steyr will also restart production in Graz, Austria, on the same date, as will JLR's engine factory in Wolverhampton, UK.
Thursday 23 April
Michelin “gradually resuming” industrial activity
Michelin Group has announced that it is planning a ‘gradual’ ramp up its production operations following production halts introduced in response to Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Apollo starts ‘partial production’ at Indian plant
Apollo Tyres Ltd has resumed partial production at one of its manufacturing plants in India, according to a recent stock exchange filing. Read more
European machinery firms begin to reopen
Some European machinery suppliers forced to shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic are now in process of bringing production back on-line. Read more
Denka reassures local communities amid US ‘Covid town’ claims
Denka Performance Elastomer has issued a message to reassure local communities about the safety of its activities amid the Covid-19 crisis. Read more
Renault to restart output at French factory
Renault will restart operations next week at its factory in Flins, France, where it builds the Renault Zoe electric small car and the Nissan Micra small hatchback. It will be the first Renault assembly plant to start up again after the automaker closed European factories in mid-March, according to ERJ’s sister publication Automotive News Europe.
Daimler expects Q1 earnings to plunge
Daimler expects its first quarter earnings to plunge as customers shunned Mercedes-Benz showrooms amid the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported 23 April. Preliminary quarterly earnings before interest and tax fell 78% to €617 million while adjusted EBIT declined 70% to €719 million.
Wednesday 22 April
Michelin to resume production at UK plant
Michelin is set to restart production at its tire retreading facility in Stoke-on-Trent in the coming days, the company confirmed 22 April. Read more
Mesnac reports Q1 loss
Machinery maker Mesnac posted €5 million (38 million yuan) net loss in the first quarter of 2020, compared with €2 million net profit recorded for the same period the year before. Read more
Car output could fall by 20% in 2020
Global light vehicle production is expected to fall more than 20%to around 71 million units in 2020 due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and ensuing recession, LMC Automotive announced 20 April. The top automotive forecaster was quoted by Reuters as saying that the steep decline in demand would likely cost global automakers 19 million units in lost production in 2020.
Lubrizol, Nike join Covid fight
Lubrizol Corp.'s Estane thermoplastic polyurethanes have leapt from shoe soles to the padding in new coronavirus face masks made by sports footwear and apparel giant Nike Inc. The materials will also be used to produce powered air-purifying respirator lenses.
Toyota resumes production at French factory
Toyota has reopened its factory in Valenciennes, France, where it makes the Yaris small hatchback, five weeks after halting production because of the coronavirus outbreak. Some operations continued during the shutdown, including work on future projects. Starting in 2021 the factory will build a small SUV that is likely to be based on the Yaris, according to a report by ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe.
VW restarting ID3 production
Volkswagen will resume production of its battery-powered ID3 hatchback on 23 April, as the brand provided new, more precise guidance for its production ramp-up after the coronavirus-related shutdown. A VW brand spokesman told ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe that the automaker is reopening its German car factories with production of the Golf-sized EV at its plant in Zwickau.
Tuesday 21 April
Trelleborg elastomers for face shields
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions (TSS) is supplying an elastomeric component to Boeing for the manufacture of its 3D printed face shields for Covid-19 medical workers. Read more
DP seals joins McLaren ventilator team
DP Seals Ltd has announced that it is working in partnership with McLaren Applied Technology to produce rubber mouldings and seals for hospital ventilators. Read more
Layoffs at Blair Rubber
Ohio-based Blair Rubber is temporarily shutting down a portion of its business and making layoffs as the impacts of Covid-19 continue to take hold. Read more
BP supercomputers to fight Covid-19
BP has offered access to its 'supercomputing capability' to a White House initiative to fight Covid-19, the UK energy giant announced 16 April. The move will provide access to Covid-19 researchers across the globe with "the most powerful high-performance computing resources in order to stop the virus," BP added.
Monday 20 April
Bridgestone to idle production plants in Japan, restart manufacturing in Europe
Bridgestone Corp. has announced a temporary ‘phased shutdown’ of some of its production plants across Japan, due to what it described as “market situation and decline in demand.” In a separate statement, Japanese group's European subsidiary Bridgestone EMIA said it is resuming tire production at its manufacturing bases across Europe. Read more
Giti extends US plant closure
Giti Tire (USA) has announced that it will keep its tire production plant in Richburg, South Carolina, idled until 4 May to adjust for "unimproved market conditions" due to the impact of Covid-19.
Volvo resuming production in Sweden, Belgium
Volvo will restart its vehicle assembly lines in Torslanda, near Gothenburg, Sweden, and Ghent, Belgium, on Monday, ending a car production shutdown that started in March to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the automaker said 17 April. Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson told ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe that his company wanted to signal that 'shutting everything down until a vaccine for the virus is found is irresponsible' as it "would result in a disastrous downward spiral into a recession."
Friday 17 April
Goodyear eyes 'phased restart' of some commercial tire production
Goodyear announced 16 April that was planning a "phased restart" of production at some of its commercial truck tire plants in the US and Europe, as early as this month. Read more
EU car demand more than halved in March
Demand fell by more 55% to 567,308 units in March, compared to 1,264,569 units registered the year before, ACEA said 17 April. Read more
Smiley Monroe extends halts
Conveyor belt producer Smiley Monroe is extending the temporary closure of all its sites in Northern Ireland for another two weeks until 4 May, in response to the spread of Covid-19. Read more
Hankook restarts Hungary tire plant?
Hankook has reportedly restarted its tire production plant in Rácalmás, south of Budapest. The South Korean tire maker told Hungary Today on 14 April that manufacturing had resumed at the facility to 'ensure continued supply to partners.'
Thursday 16 April
Covid having 'drastic' impact on European tire markets
In its latest quarterly analysis issued 16 April, ETRMA said member companies’ sales across all categories “dropped drastically” as Covid forced strict lockdown measures across Europe. Read more
UK government urged to support chemical sector
The UK Chemical Industries Association (CIA) and the trade unions working in the UK chemical sector have urged the government to ensure that the industry continues to work and that the raw material supplies and logistics "remain intact". "The government needs to ensure that the workers employed in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors can get to work where they are needed for essential operations," CIA said in a 15 April statement.
Yokohama US plants to remain closed 'until further notice'
Yokohama North America is extending the closures of its tire plants in Mississippi and Virginia "until further notice" due to the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company announced 13 April.
VW details production restart plans
Volkswagen Group has said that its factories producing cars for its VW brand in Zwickau, Germany, and Bratislava, Slovakia, will resume production on 20 April.
Other factories in Germany as well as plants in Portugal, Spain, Russia and the U.S. will resume production starting 27 April , VW announced 15 April.
Wednesday 15 April
Conti resumes some manufacturing operations in Romania
Continental Corp. has restarted some of its production operations in Romania following temporary closures put in place to curb the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more
Pirelli delays Romania reopening
Pirelli has delayed the reopening of its tire production facility in Slatina due to “new, more restrictive government measures” introduced in the fight against Covid-19, the company has announced. Read more
Trelleborg withdraws dividend proposal
Trelleborg AB’s board of directors has decided to withdraw the group's previous dividend proposal and instead propose that the annual general meeting resolves that no dividend will be paid. Read more
Ford expects $600m first quarter loss
Ford Motor expects to post a pretax loss of about $600 million for the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic pummeled its operations, the company announced 13 April. The car maker said it witnessed a 21% drop in vehicle sales to dealers versus the same quarter in 2019.
Tuesday 14 April
Bridgestone ramping up some EMIA operations
Bridgestone Europe, Russia, Middle East, India and Africa (EMIA) has announced that several plants across its manufacturing network will slowly ramp up production in response to business and customer needs. Read more
Goodyear CEO: Plants 'could reopen in May'
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has signalled a possible 'return to business' in May, as it expects OE vehicle manufacturers to restart operations across the US. Read more
Michelin producing masks at 10 European plants
Michelin has mobilised 10 of its European production plants to manufacture masks and visors to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, the French group announced 9 April. Read more
Cooper Tire restarts Mexico plant
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has announced plans to restart operations at its tire plant in El Salto, Mexico, beginning 13 April. Read more
Sumitomo Rubber to idle New York tire plant
Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc. is planning to idle production at its Tonawanda tire plant for approximately two weeks as of 20 April, according to a letter to factory employees posted by labour union United Steelworkers Local 135. Read more
BMW extends European shutdowns
BMW extended its factory shutdowns in Europe until 30 April, German press reports said. The closures include Mini and Rolls-Royce operations in the UK.
Contract manufacturer Nedcar in the Netherlands, which builds some Mini and BMW models, has also paused production.
Daimler sets April targets for production resumption
Daimler's Mercedes-Benz plans to resume output at engine plants in Germany on 20 April to build up stock for car production. Heavy truck and bus production is also scheduled to resume on that date.
A Mercedes spokeswoman told ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe that Sindelfingen, where the E Class and S Class sedans are built, and Bremen, home to the C Class, GLC and EQC electric crossover, might need until 27 April before resuming output.
The automaker's plant in Hambach, France, is scheduled to resume output on 20 April, while the Mercedes factory in Hungary is due to reopen on 22 April. Production of the Mercedes GLC at contract manufacturer Valmet in Finland has been suspended until 5 May.
Ferrari remains shut until 3 May
Ferrari extended the suspension of manufacturing activities at its plants in Maranello and Modena, Italy, until 3 May after the Italian government extended a nationwide lockdown to that date to contain the coronavirus.
Fiat looks to open Italian plant
Fiat could restart assembly lines for the Jeep Compass and new hybrid models in Melfi, Italy, on 14 April, a representative of the UILM metal workers' union told ERJ sister publication Automotive News Europe.
The automaker's Atessa plant making light commercial vehicles could also resume output on the same date and preparatory operations could restart for the new electric 500 in Turin's Mirafiori factory, provided the government's lockdown is relaxed, Ficco said.
Production at the automaker's plant in Tychy, Poland, was paused until 10 April. Fiat's factory in Kragujevac, Serbia, which produces the 500L, is closed. Fiat's Tofas joint-venture plant with Koc Holding in Turkey is running as usual.
Thursday 9 April
Nokian to extend US shutdown
Nokian Tyres said 8 Apr that it will extend the temporary closure of its US factory through at least 26 April. The company will continue to evaluate the Covid-19 situation and monitor guidelines from health & safety and local authorities to determine when to reopen the factory.
Michelin project targets 5m face-masks
Michelin is part of an initiative in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region to supply a new face-mask in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the tire maker announced 8 April. Read more
Bridgestone to reopen N American operations
Bridgestone Americas Inc. plans to restart its North American commercial tire plants as well as its North American Firestone Industrial Products and Firestone Building Products manufacturing facilities on 13 April. Read more
Conti medical hose for Bergamo customer
Continental has manufactured medical-gas-supply hose at its site in Daverio, Italy. The PVC-based product has a polyester-reinforced thermoplastic polyurethane conductive underlayer. The hose was made for Bergamo-based customer Flow-meter, a specialist for devices for measurement, control and supply of fluids. “Going forward, we will have a strong focus on manufacturing medical hoses for the European healthcare sector...,” said Marco Tamborini, Conti's manager for Italy-based production of plastics hoses – since its 2019 acquisition of Merlett. Image: ©Continental AG.
Wednesday 8 April
EU rubber groups form Covid crisis unit
Rubber industry associations in a number of EU states have set up a Covid-19 ‘crisis unit’ under the aegis of the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA). Read more
Datwyler adjusts to automotive decline
Datwyler has reported a “high workload” across most of its operations, but “capacity adjustments” at its automotive product plants in response to the Covid pandemic. Read more
Pirelli launches digital training for tire dealers
Pirelli has launched a new package of virtual training initiatives for its dealers and their sales force. From mid-March, tire dealers and Pirelli employees have been able to take part in new online training sessions, which are held in addition to the existing technical e-learning programme from Tyrecampus and Pirelli’s own internal Commercial Academy.
Yusa temporarily lays off 350 employees
US rubber automotive components maker Yusa Corp. has laid off 350 employees due to the "Covid-19 business interruption," the company has announced. Read more
VW mulling partial reopening of Spanish plant
Volkswagen hopes to partially reopen its factory in Pamplona, Spain, on April 20 after its closure in mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak, a spokesman for the plant told Reuters 7 April.
Renault, Nissan strategic plans on track
Renault and its alliance partner Nissan have the resources to weather the coronavirus crisis and will roll out strategic plans as scheduled in mid-May. Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard and Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the three-year strategic plans for the automakers and alliance member Mitsubishi were needed to restore investors’ confidence.
Tuesday 7 April
ZC Rubber in 'full swing'
China’s biggest tire maker Zhongce Rubber Group (ZC Rubber) has fully resumed tire production across its manufacturing plants and expects to meet its sales target for this year, the company has announced. Read more
Nokian resumes production at Russian tire plant
Nokian Tyres’ Russian factory in Vsevolozhsk was 'relaunched' 6 April as restrictions in movement do no apply to the factory. Read more
Hexpol postponing dividend decision
Hexpol AB’s board of directors have proposed to postpone a decision on the dividend for fiscal year 2019 due to the uncertainties caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Read More
Cooper Tire extends production halts
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. plans to extend the Covid pandemic-induced production suspension at its tire plants in Europe and North America for at least two more weeks, the company has announced. Read more
Kia starts partial production in Slovakia
Kia started partial production at its plant in Zilina, Slovakia, on Monday after a two-week stop due to the coronavirus crisis. The factory will operate on a limited basis initially with only two of the normal three shifts operating, Kia Europe told Automotive News Europe, a sister publication of European Rubber Journal.
For extends European production pause
Ford Motor extended the temporary suspension of vehicle and engine production at most of its European factories until at least 4 May. "Ford's production restart plans depend heavily on the pandemic situation in the weeks ahead, national restrictions in operation at the time, supplier constraints and the ability of our dealer network to operate," the company said in a statement on 3 April.
Monday 6 April
Pirelli targets savings, lowers sales outlook by €1bn
Pirelli & C. SpA has introduced a series of cost-cutting measures to mitigate the economic effects of the Covid-19 crisis on the group’s profitability and cash-flow. Read more
Michelin, Goodyear top managers take pay cuts
Michelin Group’s top management team are cutting their remuneration “as a demonstration of solidarity” with the employees who have been impacted by partial unemployment measures and plant closures. Read more
Meanwhile, in an SEC filing 2 April, Goodyear said it was cutting the base pay of its US salaried associates, including executive officers until the end of June. Read more
Yokohama idles car tire plant in US
Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) suspended production at its passenger and light truck tire plant in Salem for at least two weeks, beginning 5 April. Read more
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)