Anteo is on its way

The Prometeon Tyre Group – the licensed manufacturer of Pirelli branded truck, bus and off-the-road tyres and the world’s only purely industrial tyre company – has lifted the lid on Anteo, its own new global truck and bus tyre brand. CHARLEEN CLARKE went to Milan for the world launch of this new tyre brand 

There’s a good chance that you won’t know the Prometeon name. I mentioned it to many people in the South African tyre business before jetting off to Milan and this was the typical response: “Prometeon? Who?”

Prometeon is, in fact, a large and ultra-successful global business that employs some 7 300 people at its facilities on five continents. Until March 2017, it was part of the Pirelli Group and it was known as Pirelli Industrial.

Now it’s owned by TP Industrial Holding (an Italian firm which has Marco Polo as its major shareholder), Cinda (a Chinese international investment company) and Aeolus (a Chinese industrial tyre manufacturer). It continues to manufacture Pirelli tyres and has research and development centres in Italy, Brazil, Turkey and Egypt.

Prometeon has four tyre factories (two in Brazil, one in Egypt and one in Izmit, Turkey). The company recently announced that it will invest US$ 115 million (about R1,7 billion) in its Turkish plant by 2020 in order to increase its production capacity and implement advanced technology. Annual tyre production capacity at the Turkish plant will increase by a whopping 75 percent by 2020 and exports to foreign markets are expected to double.

As if that wasn’t enough on the good news front, Prometeon has also decided that it needs its very own tyre brand. Enter Anteo, which, like the Prometeon name, has its roots in Greek mythology. These tyres – which will be manufactured exclusively at the company’s plant in Egypt – will be available in South Africa in 2020.

The Anteo tyres will compete in the so-called “Tier Three” tyre market. They will no doubt be welcomed by local operators with open arms, because (cue the trumpets!) they will be quite affordable.

According to Giorgio Bruno, chairman and CEO of Prometeon Tyre Group, the Pirelli-branded tyres will continue to be the company’s premium product offering. “At the same time, it is very important to build up our own brand portfolio. Anteo is the first one, confirming our focus on and our dedication to the truck and bus sector. We are doing this is order to create value for our partners and our company,” he told guests at the world launch.

Gregorio Borgo, chief operating officer of Prometeon, explained that the Anteo range forms part of the company’s multi-brand strategy. “Going forward, we will be offering more than one product. All brands will have the highest levels both in terms of technology and safety,” he said.

There will be six different Anteo product lines: the Pro-S, Pro-D and Pro-T on-road tyres and the Mover-M, Mover-S and Mover-D for on/off-road applications.

The Pro-S is a steer axle an all-weather tyre for long-distance and regional coach applications. It is said to offer great handling, steering precision, good levels of comfort for the driver and passengers and a long tread life.

The Pro-D is a drive-axle tyre for long-distance and regional coach applications. It is said to offer a combination of comfort, grip and traction performance.

The Pro-T is designed for trailer axles, where it offers good handling and lateral stability. It is said to grant steady handling, lateral stability and great tear resistance.

The Mover-S and Mover-M, designed for steering and all axles, are said to ensure resistance against tearing and lacerations while also offering grip in changing and severe driving conditions. The Mover-D, which can be fitted to drive axles, boasts an innovative tread pattern that maximises traction in both on and off-road conditions.

According to Yaşar Yurtçu, marketing manager Africa and Middle East region at Prometeon, the Anteo tyres will boast the same quality as the Pirelli and Formula tyres produced by the company.

“Furthermore, they will feature an optimised rubber compound to guarantee the right performance, good retreadability, 3PMSF marking (meaning the tyres are suitable for winter driving) and superb robustness. The tyres were developed with a special focus on safety and their performance in the wet is, in many cases, best in class on the market,” he told FOCUS.

The Anteo tyres have already been tested in South Africa, Morocco, Kenya and Saudi Arabia. “We are offering a dedicated tyre for these markets. It will be different to the European product, which is already finding favour on that continent,” he revealed. Strong sales are also expected on the African continent.

Future plans include the development of tyres specifically for trucks and buses with electric drives. They will be Pirelli branded and they will be sizes 275/70R 22.5 e 315/60R 22.5 for electric buses. They will be developed in conjunction with the vehicle manufacturers and could be launched internationally by the end of this year. Watch this space for more details!

Conti reduces tyre production

Continental Tyre South Africa (CTSA) has stopped producing underground mining and agricultural tyres in South Africa.  This decision affects approximately 170 employees within its manufacturing and sales organisation.

“All efforts will be made to minimise the impact and to reduce the number of employees affected. During the consultation period and any future ramp down, we will maintain key staff in order to complete our customer obligations,” says Shaun Uys, managing director of CTSA.

“Continental Tyre South Africa has been part of the South African landscape for over 70 years and we are committed to continuing and growing our business through our passenger and light-truck divisions (PLT),” he adds.

The PLT segment is by far the company’s biggest offering and provides tyres to all car manufacturers in South Africa, as well as servicing the replacement market. “The PLT segment, underpinned by our strong original equipment fitment, will continue our growth strategy into Africa. As a part of this we will continue to source locally from the Port Elizabeth plant,” says Uys.

“Having a facility on the African continent strengthens our agility and ability to service our customers,” he concludes.

Michelin goes into telematics

Michelin has acquired Masternaut, one of the largest European telematics providers.

Masternaut operates primarily in France and the United Kingdom. It provides a technical platform equipped with the latest technology and offers on-board telematics solutions to optimise vehicle fleet management and monitoring. Masternaut manages over 220 000 mostly light utility vehicles under contract.

For Michelin, the acquisition will speed up the development of its services and solutions business for light vehicles and support the booming fleet market. The deal will increase the volume of data captured, allowing Michelin to develop its data science deployments, such as predictive maintenance.

It will enable Masternaut to roll out its offering across the whole of Europe – because it will be able to take advantage of the Michelin network’s geographical coverage. Sounds like a real win for both parties!

Bridgestone CEO resigns

Gavin Young, CEO of Bridgestone, has left the company to pursue other interests. Young was appointed CEO in June 2016 and, during his three-year tenure, led a number of important initiatives to drive growth and profitability in Bridgestone’s South African operations.

An announcement relating to the appointment of a new CEO will be made in due course.

In the interim, Mete Ekin, regional managing director for the Middle East and Africa, will assume direct responsibility for Bridgestone South Africa. Ekin is a seasoned Bridgestone executive with extensive experience in the tyre industry, particularly in developing economies.

My friends call me a glomad (a global nomad lest you don’t get it). That’s a particularly apt word, because I am always trawling all corners of the globe, looking for stories. As a result, I have slept in some seriously strange places – on a bed of ice in the Arctic circle, on the floor in a traditional Japanese hotel, on the sand dunes in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan … and even on the floor of a Thai cargo ship. Mostly however I tend to sleep on aircraft (if I had a dog, he would bark at me when I eventually come home). I am passionate about trucks, cars, travel, food, wine, people and hugs – so I write about all these things. Except the hugs.

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