Tire makers slow pace of investment as capacity ramps up in 2022

Pirelli & CSpA has several expansion projects in the works at its operations in Argentina and Mexico.

In Argentina, Pirelli has added motorcycle tire production capacity at its 60-year-old plant in Merlot, becoming the country’s first local manufacturer in this segment. Pirelli is investing $10 million in the plant, about half of which is earmarked for motorcycle tire production capacity.

The expansion project is in line with Pirelli’s industrial plan, unveiled in 2021, calling for two-wheeler tire production to grow to 450,000 units annually.

In Mexico, Pirelli earmarked $36 million to increase the capacity of its production complex in Silao, Mexico, by 9% to more than 7.2 million units annually.

At the same time, the company unveiled plans to build a technology and digital manufacturing center at the Silao plant in a bid to implement Industry 4.0 principles and strengthen the “innovation ecosystem” at the nine-year-old facility.

Pirelli has budgeted $15 million for the project, which will house 71,900 square feet. expansion of the production premises.

The heart of the new investment will be the creation of Pirelli’s first research and development center in Mexico, which will include cutting-edge technologies for the production of tires designed for future mobility.

Qingdao Sentury Tire Co. has earmarked a $590 million budget for a passenger and light truck tire plant in Galicia, northwestern Spain, as part of its core global growth strategy.

Sentury, which markets the Delinte, Groundspeed, Landsail and Sentury brands, is considered the world’s No. 39 tire manufacturer, based on fiscal 2021 sales of $811 million.

The plant, with a nominal capacity of 12 million high-performance radial tires per year, is planned to be completed in two phases over a period of 36 months.

The first phase, expected to be completed by early 2024, will have a production capacity of 6 million units, Sentury said. The second phase, to double the capacity to 12 million units, is to be completed by 2025.

Sailun Group Co. Ltd unveiled plans for two major industrial investments in China – to establish a “functional new materials” group designed to improve the efficiency of tire production within the group and to build a passenger, truck and OTR tire plant in Shandong province in five – milestone project estimated at $2.25 billion.

The project is expected to take up to five years to complete, Sailun said in a recent filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Once fully operational, the factory will be estimated to produce 20 million high-performance passenger tires, 10 million all-steel radial truck tires and 150,000 metric tons of OTR tires.

Sailun said it expects to break ground in the fourth quarter of the project, located in Dongjiakou, a coastal port city about 25 miles south of Qingdao.

The plant will be Sailun’s third in China and fifth overall. Its other plants in China are in Shenyang/Liaoning and Dongying/Shandong; its overseas plants are in Phuoc Dong, Vietnam, and Svay Rieng, Cambodia, the latter of which opened in November 2021.

Plans for a “functional new materials” group include the company’s “liquid gold” rubber liquid-phase compounding process, which is already in use at the firm’s Cambodia plant.

Sailun has committed $345 million to the project, which will also be located at the Dongjiakou factory. It will have a nominal annual capacity of 500,000 metric tons of functional new materials once fully operational.

Zhongce Rubber Group (ZC Rubber), China’s largest tire maker and No. 8 globally, has strengthened its non-urban tire business by acquiring Tianjin United Tire & Rubber International Co (TUTRIC) as part of its global expansion strategy.

Based in the port city of Tianjin, in northeastern China, TUTRIC produces the Tianli tire brand and will be integrated as Zhongce Rubber (Tianjin) Co. Ltd., after completion of the acquisition, ZC Rubber said.

The deal is valued at $200 million, and ZC Rubber said it plans to invest more than $100 million in TUTRIC’s facilities over the next five years, in an effort to increase the business’s annual revenue sevenfold to $700 million.

Claiming to be “one of the largest off-road (OTR) tire suppliers in the world”, Hangzhou-based ZC Rubber offers a range of products for wheel loaders, articulated and rigid dump trucks, port applications, underground mines as well as industrial and forklift operations.

ZC Rubber also moved truck tire production at its factory in Jiande City, Zhejiang Province to another facility located nearby. The move was made at the request of the government and is part of the municipal redevelopment, which foresees a new commercial use of the site.

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