R1bn pumped into tyre plant

A new billion-rand investment has been unveiled at the Goodyear plant in Uitenhage
Picture: Fredlin Adriaan

Investment hikes capacity at Goodyear by about 30%

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 4×4 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.

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