News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

July 21, 2011

Automakers ask Obama administration to reevaluate tighter US MPG ratings

Filed under: General — Notch @ 11:56 pm

From European Rubber Journal (subscription required) comes word that the auto industry is pressing the Obama administration for a promise to reevaluate an ambitious fuel economy target announced in June. The new rules would raise US to 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025, up from 27.3 mpg now.

Automakers are seeking to slow mileage-standard increases, saying the necessary technology isn’t yet in place and may slow sales by making vehicles more expensive. A review midway through the 2017-2025 program would give regulators a chance to reassess assumptions that the needed engine technology will exist, [Ellen] Gleberman [of trade group Global Automakers] said.

“It’s very difficult if not impossible to know where the industry will be in terms of technology or what the market conditions will be this far in the future,” said Gleberman, whose group represents Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and 11 other Asian and European automakers.

Read the full article here.

Bridgestone to invest $135 million in the US

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations will invest $135 million to expand capacity at its passenger and light truck tire plant in Aiken County, South Carolina by up to 4,750 units per day. Construction is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2013 and production is expected to begin in 2Q 2013.

The project will increase plant capacity by an additional 4,750 units per day to about 29,750 units per day. Bridgestone Americas said it will expand the facility by 266,000 square feet in the main plant and mixing areas.

EC approves Evonik carbon black acquisition

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:53 am

The European Commission has cleared the acquisition of German chemical company Evonik’s carbon black business under the EU Merger Regulation. The approval the EU Merger Regulation means that the deal is not considered one that will significantly alter the structure of the carbon black market or significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area. “The transaction would not significantly alter the structure of the market for carbon black as neither Rhone Capital nor Triton has any ownership interests in any business that manufactures or sells carbon black,” the Commission said in a statement. The sale to Rhône Capital was announced in April 2011.

Tyrepress notes that one of the acquiring companies, Triton, has an interest in a supplier of carbon black oil, but that did not change the Commission’s findings.

As one of the investment funds run by Triton controls Rütgers, a supplier of carbon black oil (which is the chemical intermediary product used to produce carbon black), the Commission also investigated the vertical relationship arising from the proposed transaction. The investigation confirmed that the transaction “will neither result in the shutting out of competing carbon black producers as there are many alternative suppliers of carbon black oil on the market, nor in the shutting out of other suppliers of carbon black oil as there are sufficient alternative outlets for their carbon black oil production.”

Triton bought coal tar company Rutgers Chemicals from Evonik Industries in 2007.

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