By Roy Cokayne
Despite the troubles in the automotive industry, global tyre company Goodyear Tire and Rubber Holdings has decided to invest R70 million in its Uitenhage plant.
The investment will equip the factory to produce three new and apparently technologically superior tyre products, including one specifically aimed at the minibus taxi market.
Jean-Jacques Wiroth, the managing director of Goodyear, said last week that this investment, in difficult economic times, reinforced Goodyear’s commitment to South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, which was regarded as an important and independent hub in the Goodyear world.
Wiroth said it was investing not only in its Uitenhage plant to produce the new products with new machinery, new moulds and various continuous improvement projects, but also in people and distribution channels, through continuous training and development.
He said the factory made products of world-class quality. It was proud that 90 percent of its production was sold locally, through a wide footprint of well-established distribution channels across sub-Saharan Africa.
Wiroth said new products were the lifeblood that ensured the consistent improvement of any business. New product drove Goodyear’s business and consequently it would increasingly produce new products.
Myles Dent, Goodyear’s marketing and communications manager, said the new products covered three different areas of application, with each representing a specific innovation.
Through the launch of the new products in South Africa, he said, Goodyear was comprehensively extending its range.
Goodyear said its new Duramax G22 could take on the most demanding road and traffic conditions and had been “engineered specifically for South Africa’s bright, brash and breezy minibus taxis, which are particularly hard on their tyres”.
Its new DuraGrip had been developed to cope with all the stop-start pressures of constant city driving in all weather conditions. The third new product, the Wrangler AT/SA, provided exceptional on- and off-road performance in wet and muddy conditions, while high-tensile steel belts improved the tyre’s strength and resistance to punctures.
Published on the web by Business Report on April 27, 2009.