Trentyre's New Man Behind The Wheel

Nigel Sowerby, the man behind the wheel of national tyre and related services retailer Trentyre, has his sights set on a major comeback for the group, and plans to drive it there through fundamental standards of excellence, “executed properly and throughout each and every outlet across the country”.
Sowerby, who joined Trentyre as Operations and Commercial Director in January this year, had headed Goodyear UK’s truck tyre and retail operations from 2006 until his new appointment. Before that he had worked his way up from counter-hand to director of American-based Dana Corporation, which specialises in automotive components and retail, so his experience and knowledge of the automotive services sector runs very deep.
“One of the highlights of my career with Goodyear UK was transforming the business into a sustainable entity that can now hold its own in the marketplace. I would go so far as to say that the Goodyear truck tyre business in the UK now sets the benchmark. This transformation was achieved following the implementation of a series of initiatives, once challenges within the operation had been identified,” he said.
His course for Trentyre has been laid out with the same passionate momentum. “I have vowed to take Trentyre back to great in the next three to five years, or for as long as my assignment remains in effect and I truly believe it can be done.
“First on my agenda is to drive home the message that Trentyre needs to ‘get back to basics.’ We must understand, identify, define and solidify our commercial proposition. The priority is to introduce and drive standards and to enforce the need for things to be done in strict accordance to service level agreements, on a national level.”
Staff morale, pride and confidence are another key focus area for Sowerby, who plans to boost earnings and bonuses as the company progresses. “We know where we want to get to: we want to be the best in the business, as well as run a sustainable business with decent returns. Working with our team, shifting mindsets where necessary, we will encourage people at branch level to treat the company like their own business. A change in leadership and proposition ultimately creates a new environment. We cherish hard work, self-motivation, drive and entrepreneurial flair and so this is the type of person that we would like to align ourselves with going forward.”
Sowerby’s aim is to “secure a good budget brand to add to our existing product range and to work extensively with both factories (Goodyear and Arctic) in Uitenhage to ensure we have the right products at the right price”.
“There is definitely room for improvement to the service offering within Trentyre or any other organisation for that matter. This year’s Gold Standard is next year’s Silver. “Trentyre’s wide footprint, our heritage, our service proposition and our close alliance to one of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers, Goodyear, are all part of the strong hand we already hold. We are fortunate to be aligned with such a powerful manufacturing force, however the two are entirely separate brands which are there to complement rather than dictate to one another. I’m a firm believer in allowing the service providers and retailers to do their job. The after-sales business thrives on entrepreneurial flair and talent so we want to promote and encourage this.”
Although he graduated with a BA Hons from Leicester University and has spent most of his working life in the United Kingdom, Sowerby has his roots in Africa and is delighted to be back. He was born in Nigeria, spent most of his childhood in Kenya and started working life in Kenya before settling in the UK again with Dana Corporation.
A family man, whose wife and two teenage daughters will join him in South Africa on completion of their studies, he loves the outdoor life of fishing, golfing and game viewing. “Due to my passion for travel, I’ve been lucky enough to see most of the world, but this country is the perfect fit for me: ample sunshine, the great outdoors and good wining and dining,” he says.

Bio-based Tyres Edge Closer to Reality

Goodyear and DuPont Industrial Biosciences are working together to develop BioIsoprene, a revolutionary bio-based alternative for petroleum-derived isoprene. BioIsoprene can be used for the production of synthetic rubber, which in turn is an alternative for natural rubber and other elastomers. The development of BioIsoprene will help reduce the tyre and rubber industry’s dependence on oil-derived products.
Currently, the two companies have demonstrated proof of the technology through the production of a prototype tyre made with BioIsoprene monomer. This tyre is on display at the Goodyear stand at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show.
For Goodyear, a bio-based alternative to synthetic rubber is an important advancement, as the company seeks innovative approaches to addressing raw material needs. The company is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, and BioIsoprene monomer produced from renewable materials will help achieve this goal.
“Finding a replacement for oil-derived materials is the right thing to do from a business standpoint, but it’s also the right thing to do for the environment,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, chief technical officer for The Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company. “Since synthetic rubber is a critical component to our products and many others, we are very excited to be working on this renewable alternative with DuPont.”
The two companies first signed on to the collaboration in 2008. In May of 2011, DuPont acquired Danisco and its Genencor division which has spearheaded the research and development activities around the BioIsoprene product.
The BioIsoprene monomer is derived from renewable raw materials as well and represents a significant development within the biochemical and rubber industries where traditional isoprene is currently used. Aside from synthetic rubber for tyre production, BioIsoprene can be used in a wide range of products such as surgical gloves, golf balls and adhesives. By itself, Goodyear is one of the world’s largest users of isoprene for the production of synthetic rubber and other elastomers.
The two companies have invested jointly for more than four years to validate the project, establish the teams, and secure intellectual property assets. To date, technical progress has exceeded expectations. Additional investments to establish pilot plant operations and manufacturing infrastructure are expected.

Goodyear Innovations On Display In Geneva

Goodyear’s innovative technology and industry-leading new product engine are on display at the 82nd Geneva International Motor Show taking place this week in Switzerland.
New technologies on display include Goodyear’s Air Maintenance Technology (AMT), a self-inflating tyre system that can help reduce fuel consumption. Visitors to the Geneva Motor Show will see how tyres can remain inflated at the optimum pressure without the need for any external pumps, electronics or driver intervention.
“Consumers often overlook the importance of maintaining proper tyre pressure,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear senior vice president and chief technical officer. “We believe this technology will have immediate positive impact for drivers in terms of performance and for the environment through improved fuel efficiency, reduced emissions and extended tyre life. Goodyear has taken on this challenge and the progress we have made is very encouraging to the point that we are now ready to demonstrate it in Geneva for the first time.”
Additional new technologies on display include the company’s Electric Vehicle Tyre Technology developed for CityHush, a European Union-sponsored project to reduce noise in cities throughout Europe. Goodyear will show how Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology is being taken from the race track to the road to make consumer and fleet tyres more intelligent in the future, and Goodyear’s innovative Spring Tyre – an airless tyre designed originally for use on the moon. Another concept tyre on display is made with BioIsoprene, a revolutionary bio-based alternative for petroleum-derived isoprene. The development of BioIsoprene will help reduce the tyre industry’s dependence on oil-derived products.
Goodyear’s Europe, Middle East and Africa tyre business will highlight its latest consumer tyre technologies including RunOnFlat Technology and 4D Sipe Technology. The company will also exhibit its new 2012 product which will be available in South Africa – the Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV.
Goodyear will host a special display where the media can learn about the upcoming introduction of tyre labels in Europe this year. European consumers will see tyres in their dealerships carrying a standardised label that provides information on three key performance attributes: rolling resistance, wet grip and exterior rolling noise.
“Goodyear has always been proactive in research and development and we are looking forward to displaying a range of innovations that people will never have seen before,” said Jean Pierre Jeusette, general director of Goodyear’s Luxembourg Innovation Center. “These technologies have been specifically developed to meet the ever-changing requirements of modern consumers and society focused on performance, sustainability, the environment and convenience.”