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Another Recall, Chairman Quits and Lawsuits Stack UpNew problems and some unexpected after-effects of the Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) recall continue to plague the Nashville-based firm:

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in both North Carolina and Georgia, and has been talking to both state and local officials to find a new location for its North American headquarters and a technical center. Most speculation has said Rome, Ga., northwest of Atlanta, is Pirelli’s desired site.

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Though its parent firm, Pirelli SpA, said it was close to naming a site for one of its automated MIRS (Modular Integrated Robitized System) manufacturing plants, Pirelli North America would not confirm if a MIRS plant was connected with the project.

Pirelli SpA did announce that a MIRS facility would be erected at its Pirelli Reifenwerke GmbH facility in Breuger, Germany. The $100 million German project will see construction of a 167,000-square-foot addition to the plant, which will house 12 MIRS modules.

ITRA World Expo offers discounts, Rubber Ball
The International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA) is offering special airfare and rental car discounts to those interested in attending its World ITRA Expo Apr. 19-21 at Opryland Hotel Convention Center in Nashville.

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And the event will feature the first Rubber Ball, a semi-formal evening of food, beverages, live entertainment, dancing and networking. Tickets for the Rubber Ball, scheduled for the evening of Thurs., Apr. 19, are $30 and are available when registering for the conference and trade show.

Based on advanced booking, attendees can get 5% discounts on airfare from American Airlines, Delta and US Airways, and 10% if they buy tickets 60 days in advance. They can also get a 10% discount from Southwest Airlines (except on promotional M fares).

In addition, ITRA is offering discounts from Hertz on rental cars, and round trip shuttle service from the Nashville airport.

For more details, contact Opryland International Travel at 800-677-9526. Reserve rooms at Opryland Hotel by calling 615-883-2211.

IRS Rule Change Makes Payments Easier
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has made some small business owners’ lives easier this year. Under new rules from the IRS, if your quarterly employment tax payments are less than $2,500, you can deposit employment taxes on a quarterly basis rather than monthly as previous required.

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Those with employment taxes in excess of $2,500 will still have to make monthly deposits. The new rule, which took effect Jan. 1, cuts business owner paperwork, and raises the minimum tax payment from $1,000 per quarter.

Of note®ƒ

Goodyear postponed its annual dealer meeting, scheduled for Feb. 4-8 in Dallas, and may cancel the event entirely; at least for this year the company is opting for smaller regional sessions and a G3 Advisory Board meeting … Bridgestone/Firestone has been cleared in an investigation of tire problems on public buses running in San Diego; poor tire maintenance was faulted … Goodyear bio-engineered a corn starch derivative and hopes to use the organic compound as a replacement for silica or carbon black in future tires … Salt Lake City-based David Early Tire has opened a new retail location in Draper City, Utah, its 17th retail store …

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Analysts say growing over-capacity problems coupled with strong competition by European, Japanese and Korean automakers will fuel a SUV price war in North America this year … Fitch has lowered the long-term unsecured debt rating of Goodyear from A- to BBB+, and has removed the company from its from Rating Watch Negative; Goodyear stock prices rose above $24 per share in early January … Bendix Brakes’ loaded caliper program now includes Bendix’s SUV-specific brake pads … With nearly 200 product liability suits pending against its Bridgestone/Firestone unit, Bridgestone Corp. has set aside some $900 million to handle legal claims … For the 13th time in 30-some years, Michelin North America is fighting unionization of its three tire plants on Nova Scotia, Canada; 3,500 workers at three plants were to vote Jan. 4 whether to join the Canadian Auto Workers union … George Becker, 72, president of the United Steelworkers of America, retired Feb. 28, with Leo Gerard, secretary-treasurer, tapped to replace him … Pro Stop Truck Service, with five locations around the U.S., has signed on to offer Goodyear, Kelly Springfield and Steelmark new tires and Goodyear’s Next-Tred retreaded tires … ArvinMeritor Inc. opened a new distribution center in Marion, S.C., and purchased R&B Inc.’s gas charged lift support group, giving ArvinMeritor control of the Mighty-Lift and Steady Lift brands … Despite posting a loss of some $51 million in its second half, Yokohama Rubber Co. expects to end fiscal 2000 with $2 million in profit, a significant improvement from 1999’s $80 million net loss … ITRA has issued its revised Buffed Radius & Width Guide for Retreading Radial Truck and Light Truck Tires, available by calling 800-211-1779 and requesting document 101 … Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is relocating its Oliver Retreading Systems eastern distribution center from Athens, Ga., to a 61,400-square-foot facility in Ashboro, N.C. … International Marketing Inc. is bridging its Audit tire management system with TMT’s Transman vehicle maintenance software, allowing shared information with one data entry …

dyk®ƒ

18.2 Millions of medium/heavy truck tires retreaded in North America in 2000, according to Tire Retread Information Bureau.

261.4 Millions of Americans, according to the final 2000 U.S. census results, a 13.2% increase over the 1990 census.

38 Percentage of all passenger vehicles currently on the road that are light trucks or SUVs, according to Lang Marketing Resources.

23 Percentage of tire punctures that occur in "potentially dangerous" situations, according to Tyre Technology.

35,806 & 647 1999 occupant fatalities in car and light truck/SUV accidents, and the number of those accidents directly attributed to "tire related factors," according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

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15 Percentage of all U.S. passenger vehicle service work done by tire dealers, according to Lang Marketing Resources.

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