This report focuses on the tyre industry in South Africa and provides information on the state of the industry and the factors that influence it. There are comprehensive profiles of 17 companies including Sumitomo Rubber which last year launched its new, truck and bus radial factory in Ladysmith, on which it has spent more than R2bn and Goodyear, which has invested almost R1bn in its Uitenhage facility to improve the plant’s high tech consumer tyre production capacity. Other companies profiled include Apollo Tyres, Bandaq, Kwik Fit Trentyre and Michelin.
The Tyre Industry
South Africa’s four tyre manufacturers - Goodyear, Bridgestone, Continental and Sumitomo (Dunlop) are all owned by international tyre companies with extensive global footprints. These four manufacturers supply tyres to automakers and the tyre replacement market and they send consignments to other parts of Africa. An average 11 million tyres are sold in South Africa each year.
Although tyres are an essential purchase, consumers are buying cheap imported tyres, and the major manufacturers compete against an estimated 200 importers of tyres of various brands, with most coming from China and Japan. With excess local capacity and an increasing volume of imports, manufacturers are under pressure to grow their market share and reduce costs. Continental Tyres is shutting down its ground mining tyres and agricultural tyres production unit in Port Elizabeth and moving production out of South Africa as part of restructuring of the global commercial specialty tyre business.
South African tyre manufactures benefit from the research and development of their international parent companies. Recent advances in tyre technology include Goodyear’s futuristic Oxygene photosynthesis tyre, which integrates living moss in its sidewall and generates its own light and Michelin’s puncture-proof airless concept tyre which will be virtually maintenance-free and will not have irregular wear from over- or under-inflation.