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Monday, March 17, 2014

Green tires will dominate production within the next 2 years

February, 2014 - Energy Efficiency Seminar
By Alzira Rodrigues | alzira@autodata.com.br

All of the negotiations involving the launch of new vehicle models in Brazil already contemplate the development and supply of green tires. The expectation is that by 2016 all new vehicles will leave the assembly line equipped with this technology.

This was the consensus among executives from Bridgestone, Continental, Michelin and Pirelli during a panel conducted at the AutoData Energy Efficiency Seminar, which took place in São Paulo, on Monday, 24.

In order to make the country’s tire industry more competitive, sector representatives defend the need for incentives to enable local production and supply of raw materials. “We still depend significantly on imports”, stated Roberto Falkenstein, director of research and development at Pirelli. “Approximately 40% of our
production depends on purchases from abroad, and the problem is even worse when the issue is green
tires.”

According to Falkenstein, the green tires - which, among its major characteristics, offers low rolling resistance - uses a specific silica that is only produced abroad, as well as other special polymers: “These are the materials that guarantee a tire with the characteristics demanded today by the Inovar-Auto program: less fuel consumption and, as a result, lower emissions”.

According to Renato Sarzano, director-superintendent of Continental’s tire business in Brazil, in addition to the green tire, which will be required by every vehicle manufacturer in their new projects, there are alternatives to reduce consumption, such as, for example, a thinner spare tire. “This type of spare reduces the total weight of the vehicle by about 10 kg and has been increasingly used abroad. Our development is all centralized in Germany, but we have engineers here who talk to the vehicle manufacturers to bring and adapt
solutions according to the local needs.”

Similar to the other participants the technical manager of original equipment at Michelin, Marcelo Capella, emphasized the need for local components and materials.
According to him the company is working exclusively on green tires today, not just for the OEMs but also aftermarket. Capella admits that the products are 10% more expensive than the conventional ones, but says the drop in fuel consumption enables the difference to be amortized quickly.

According to the general manager of product development at Bridgestone, Antônio Seta, all current negotiations with vehicle manufacturers in Brazil involve the supply of green tires. “The speed of its dissemination will depend on the market but, with the Inovar-Auto program, we are working to have them used in all of the vehicles produced in the country.”

On average, according to the panel participants, the green tire enables fuel savings ranging between 6% and 8%. All of the participants also commented about the proposed Inovar-Pneus program, a regime specially focused on tire production, developed by Anip, the tire industry association, which calls for incentives for local production and reduction of imports.

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