Michelin to build 1 plant, revamp another in Brazil
Groupe Michelin plans to invest $196 million to boost tire production in Brazil. The company plans to build a car-tire factory in Itaiaia and renovate a truck-tire plant in Campo Grande. Both projects are in Rio de Janeiro state. The projects will create 300 jobs.
WIRE HARNESS - UT Automo-tive has opened a 32,400-square-foot wire harness plant in Tunisia. The plant is in Borj Cedria, about 12 miles from Tunis. The plant has about 100 employees, and UT Automotive expects to hire 100 more this year.
VALVES - Eaton Corp. has formed a joint venture to make engine valves and hydraulic valve lifters for cars and motorcycles in China. Eaton's partners will be the Shanghai Pudong Valve Factory and Asian Nittan Pte. Ltd. Eaton will own 55 percent of the venture, which will be near Shanghai. Eaton will invest $8.6 million in the operation, which will be called Shanghai Eaton Engine Compo-nents Co. Ltd. The venture expects to generate sales of $26 million by 2000.
TORQUE CONVERTERS - Borg-Warner Automotive Inc. will sell the remainder of its torque converter business to Mannesmann-Sachs AG of Schweinfurt, Germany. Assets include designs, production equipment and test machines. The equipment will be transferred to a Mannesman site late this year.
VIBRATION CONTROL - Simpson Industries Inc. has signed an agreement with Fukoku Co. Ltd. to produce anti-vibration components for light vehicles and heavy trucks. Fukoku, which is based in Ageo City, Japan, operates plants in Japan, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia and the United States. Simpson is based in Plymouth, Mich.
Continental AG's net income rose 72 percent in the first quarter, as its truck tire division was profitable in that quarter for the first time since World War II. Net profits totaled $57.6 million. Sales rose 8.8 percent to $1.5 billion.
Joginder Khanuja, a Ford Motor Co. advanced technology development engineer, the 1998 Powder Metallurgy Automotive Achieve-ment Award. The award, established in 1990, is given by the Metal Powder Industries Federation to recognize those who have helped advance powder metallurgy in the automotive industry. Khanuja has helped develop at least 50 parts for Ford, many of them steering and transmission parts.
Michelin North America Inc.'s MXV4 ZP tire, the American Marketing Association's Edison Gold Award for best new automotive product of 1997. The Edison award recognizes new products that exemplify exceptional creativity and innovation. Michelin's family of ZP tires can travel up to 200 miles at 55 mph after undergoing total air loss. The MXV4 ZP is available as an option on the Lincoln Continental.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., top honors in the Rubber and Plastic Products category of Fortune magazine's list of 'America's Most Admired Companies,' up from 25th last year. Companies were rated based on innovation, quality of management, employee talent, quality of products and services, long-term investment value, financial soundness, social responsibility and use of corporate assets. The 16th annual survey was published in March.
Dana Corp. of Toledo, Ohio, a $15 mil-lion headquarters and engineering and technology center in Kala-mazoo, Mich., for its Spicer Heavy Axle and Brake unit. The site, expected to open in late 1999, could eventually employ up to 300 people, including some workers from Galesburg, Mich., and Fort Wayne, Ind. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year.
Middle East Battery Co., a joint venture between Delphi Automo-tive Systems of Troy, Mich., and a group of Saudi investors in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. The plant, which produces AC Delco maintenance-free automotive batteries, began shipments to customers in January. Delphi has a 49 percent share in the venture, and Delphi Energy & Engine Manage-ment Systems division is responsible for managing the plant. It is Delphi's first manufacturing operation in the Middle East and the first Delphi battery plant built specifically to produce batteries for the aftermarket. The company expects to build more than 1 million batteries annually.
Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., a 14 percent equity interest in Neumaticos de Chile SA, a $50 million manufacturer of Firestone passenger and light truck tire products based in Santiago, Chile. The stock was acquired by a newly formed Chilean company, Bridgestone/ Firestone (Chile) Ltda. After the closing, Neuma-ticos de Chile SA was renamed as Firestone Chile SA. The company produces more than 1 million tires annually.
Collins & Aikman Plastics, a subsidiary of Collins & Aikman Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., acquired Kigass Automotive Group, a privately held automotive interior plastic trim supplier based in Leamington Spa, England. The purchase price was not disclosed. Collins & Aikman Plastics supplies air registers for climate control and interior trim. With the addition of Kigass, the company will offer door panels, consoles, instrument panels and climate-control products.