R1bn pumped into tyre plant

In­vest­ment hikes ca­pac­ity at Goodyear by about 30%

The Herald (South Africa) - - BUSINESS - Shaun Gill­ham gill­hams@ti­soblack­star.co.za

GOODYEAR South Africa yes­ter­day un­veiled its R1-bil­lion in­vest­ment into state-of-theart ma­chin­ery at its Uiten­hage op­er­a­tion, from where the com­pany will be driving its push into its south­ern and sub-Sa­ha­ran African con­sumer tyre mar­kets.

Host­ing a rib­bon-cut­ting event at the plant, newly ap­pointed man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for South Africa and Goodyear’s sub-Sa­ha­ran re­gion Dar­ren Hayes-Pow­ell ex­pressed am­bi­tions of mak­ing the Bay plant No 1 in Goodyear’s global man­u­fac­tur­ing plant sta­ble.

He said the in­vest­ment demon­strated the con­fi­dence its head of­fice held in the plant’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties and in the growth in its mar­kets on the con­ti­nent.

Speak­ing just seven weeks into his new role, he said the new equip­ment in­vest­ment, which was ap­proved for im­ple­men­ta­tion in 2015, was di­rected at the high-per­for­mance con­sumer tyre mar­kets, with a fo­cus on South Africa’s sig­nif­i­cant and grow­ing 4x4 and sports util­ity ve­hi­cle mar­ket seg­ments.

UK-born Hayes-Pow­ell said the com­pany was par­tic­u­larly proud of its pro­duc­tion of the Wran­gler All-Ter­rain Ad­ven­ture tyre, which was the first to be pro­duced with the “state-of-the-art” man­u­fac­tur­ing ma­chin­ery.

The tyre is built with an ul­tra-strong, Kevlar® fi­bre over­lay and re­in­forced by the Du­rawall™ tech­nol­ogy, which im­proves re­sis­tance against punc­tures and cuts in the side­wall area.

“We are fo­cused on pro­duc­ing low rolling re­sis­tance tyres which im­prove fuel ef­fi­ciency and ul­ti­mately as­sist the en­vi­ron­ment,” Hayes-Pow­ell, who is based at Goodyear’s head of­fice in Midrand, Gaut­eng, said.

“The new equip­ment has al­lowed us to in­crease our pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity dra­mat­i­cally, by an out­put of 2 700 more tyres per day.

“We cer­tainly see a big fu­ture here in South Africa.”

In ear­lier com­ments, he said the higher pro­duc­tion rep­re­sented an in­crease of about 30% of the plant’s ca­pac­ity and had been im­ple­mented to drive growth and meet de­mands in both the do­mes­tic and sub-Sa­ha­ran mar­kets.

The com­pany yes­ter­day also demon­strated new, equally hi-tech, mobile tyre as­sess­ment and re­pair units for the truck mar­kets, di­rected at pro­vid­ing fleet own­ers and other truck op­er­a­tors with a 24-hour, on- and off-site pre­ven­ta­tive main­te­nance so­lu­tion.

Nelson Man­dela Bay mayor Athol Trol­lip com­mended Goodyear for a range of achieve­ments, in­clud­ing that the com­pany had man­aged a “zero to land­fill” waste op­er­a­tion since 2008 and ws recog­nised as one of the coun­try’s top em­ploy­ers.

Trol­lip spoke at length about the im­por­tance of Uiten­hage within the broader metro area and an­nounced a con­certed fo­cus on the Uiten­hage re­gion.

He also said his ad­min­is­tra­tion was rein­vent­ing its def­i­ni­tion of the Bay and would be re­fer­ring to the re­gion as an “iconic, friendly, ocean city driven by in­no­va­tion, and a des­ti­na­tion of choice”.

Newly ap­pointed Nelson Man­dela Bay Business Cham­ber chief ex­ec­u­tive Nomkhita Mona, in her ad­dress, re­vealed a small por­tion of the cham­ber’s long-awaited new strat­egy, which is ex­pected to be fully un­veiled in the near fu­ture.

Re­fer­ring to the Triple He­lix concept, which in­volved the spheres of business and in­dus­try, uni­ver­si­ties and gov­ern­ment, Mona said this rep­re­sented the co­op­er­a­tive ap­proach and way for­ward for the cham­ber and its ef­forts to sup­port and grow the lo­cal econ­omy and em­ploy­ment.

Pic­ture: FREDLIN ADRI­AAN

PICK­ING UP PACE: A new bil­lion-rand in­vest­ment has been un­veiled at the Goodyear plant in Uiten­hage

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