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Aftermarket News

Continental opens flagship Middle East service centre in Dubai

Continental, the premium German tyre and automotive technology company, today opened its largest Middle East service centre in Dubai. The brand-new full-service facility, which has been launched in partnership with Royal Step Car Services, will provide customers in the UAE with a one-stop shop for all their car servicing needs.

Continental’s new flagship facility has more than 10 service bays and offers a full range of premium tyre and car care services. These include, tyre repairs and fitting, wheel alignment, battery servicing, air conditioning servicing, oil changes, electrical work, brake services, car wash, car accessories and other general maintenance. There is also a dedicated customer waiting area and product display area.

The new service centre, which is located on 4th Street in Al Quoz 1, was opened by executives from Continental, Royal Step Car Services and Emirates for Universal Tyres (EUT), the sole distributor for Continental in the UAE. Present at the official launch ceremony were Karel Kucera, Managing Director of Continental Middle East and Shaun Smith, General Manager at EUT, who both handed over the certificate of authorised dealership to Hassan El Haj, Managing Director of Royal Step Car Services.

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The opening of the new facility is the latest in a series of developments that have seen the German brand significantly enhance its support for customers across the UAE and Middle East. The new Generation 6 range of tyres, which have been developed specifically for the region, were launched last year, while a new parts warehouse, allowing smoother parts supply, was opened in Jebel Ali earlier this year.

Continental Tires Service center in Middle East

Commenting on the opening, Karel Kucera, Managing Director of Continental Middle East, said: “This new flagship service centre allows Continental to make its premium range of tyres and other services even more accessible to customers in Dubai. It also demonstrates the commitment of both Continental and our UAE partner Royal Step Car Services to all of our customers, whether they be private individuals or companies, at a time when we are experiencing increased demand across the region.”

Hassan El Haj, Managing Director of Royal Step Car Services, said: “The investment in this new facility ensures that we lead the market when it comes to offering customers the best in terms of both servicing and products. Everything has been done to make each visitor’s experience a special one, which we believe will appeal to customers in Dubai who are very much accustomed to receiving the best.”

Continental Tires Service center in Middle East

Shaun Smith, General Manager at EUT, commented: “We are pleased to welcome Royal Step Car Services as an authorised dealer and further broaden the Continental family in the UAE. Under the guidance of Mr El Haj, they have developed a first-class one-stop shop that will contribute to the growing sales of Continental’s premium products for the coming years in the emirates.”

2019 will also see the Middle East launch of Continental’s new digital tyre monitoring platform, ContiConnect™. Designed especially for commercial vehicles, the new platform helps fleets to maximise efficiency and send alerts if tyre pressure deviates from the defined value. This follows the arrival earlier last year of ContiPressureCheck™, a first-of-its-kind monitoring system for buses and trucks that continuously monitors tyre pressure and temperature.

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Events Coverage

The American University of Science and Technology Automotive Day 2019

Image Credit: K8 Car Photography

On March 14th, it was not a normal day for the students of the American University of Science and Technology in Beirut. The AUST University campus was transformed into an exhibition of sports cars and racing cars building up the usual excitement of this annual exhibition, which was characterized this year by the presence of the motorsport world stars.

Despite the rainy weather, the students flocked to the university campus at first engine start. Fans of cars and motorcycles were intrigued to enjoy the roaring motor symphonies of the best motorsport vehicles on display at AUST that day.

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The day started with the presence of one of the youngest drivers in Lebanon, Alex Feghali Son of Lebanon Rally Champion for 14 consecutive years Roger Feghali, Alex engaged with the students and had a nice Q&A session about the difference between Rally cars and ordinary cars and how are these equipped for speeding on closed roads and are fully loaded with safety features to protect the driver and the passenger. Alex displayed his own Speed test and Rally Cars and shared his experience with the students.

Oliver Kick, the Middle East Drift champion, was also present alongside his car and gave the students an opportunity to meet him, share his news and a chance to take some photos with the champ and his car. Oliver also shared his public safety message and informed the student about his special drifting school with the intention of removing drifting from public roads and taking it to the safe closed areas.

The event was also attended by drivers: Richard Ibrahim and the oldest driver in 4×4 Rallying in Lebanon Rashid Nehnehi alongside their vehicles, covering by that all aspects of motorsport activities and educating students about road safety and speeding no matter what type of vehicles you drive or whatever your motorsport passion is.

Lebanon Motorcross academy, led by Joe Salloty the RC Cup racing and motocross champion along with Rafic Eid Lebanon’s motocross champion for several years, were also present on campus to bring excitement and information to the sport of two-wheel motors.

And of course, as the usual annual ritual, Students brought their cars onsite attending the competition of the loudest car on campus and also the most beautiful car on Campus. The students filled the AUST campus with amazing classic, Super and tuned cars creating an unprecedented atmosphere.

The awareness activities don’t stop at safety messages and cars display, Giti tires decided to join the event this year and create the pit stop competition by Giti where students competed for the fastest tire change competition while being educated by Giti Experts on the safety of tires and the importance of having the right tires on your vehicle. In an attempt to break the routine, Automotive influencer and mechanic Rana Hayek joined the competition to incite girls to participate and win with Giti.

Giti Stand also witnessed the presence of International guest from Giti Mother company in China and USA that got the change to interact with the students and engage with them on the importance of having safe tires installed on their vehicles.

Finally, Strive Middle East the leading automotive and lifestyle digital platform wanted to spread a new kind of message, thus created a PlayStation racing game with an aim to show that driving on circuits is more fun that driving on public roads and with the rise of electric motors in Lebanon, Strive Middle East decided to offer 5 winners the chance to go-Kart in the first indoor karting arena using electric Go-Kart vehicles.

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Aftermarket News

CONTINENTAL OFFERS SUPERB SUMMER PERFORMANCE

This year Continental has expanded its range of summer car tyres even further, with the new portfolio now featuring over 200 new items. There are new sizes across sports cars to compact city cars. As a result, the German tyre manufacturer now offers one of the world’s most extensive ranges of tyres for cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles.

PremiumContact 6 – Safety and precision handling from mid-range to luxury–

With the PremiumContact 6, Continental successfully bridges the gap between a tyre with high ride comfort and a tyre for more sports orientated models. It unites ride quality, precision steering response, maximum safety and good environmental properties in a single product. The development engineers have come up with new compounds – creating a new tyre design taken from the SportContact 6 and tread pattern that offers an improved comfortable ride. The outcome is a product that delivers improvements in handling performance, rolling resistance, mileage and ride quality of up to 15 percent compared to its predecessor.

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The PremiumContact 6 is manufactured in 120 sizes for rims from 16-22 inches. The current range covers tyre widths between 205 and 325 mm with aspect ratios between 30 and 65 percent and approvals for speeds of between 130 mph and 186 mph.

SportContact 6 – A high-tech tyre enters new dimensions

With the SportContact 6, Continental boasts a super sports tyre for the high-performance sector – a tyre that has a substantial edge over its predecessor, particularly in terms of handling, steering precision and high-speed capability. Continental’s development engineers have reformulated the chemical composition of the tread strip, redesigned the tread pattern and revamped the construction of the tyre.

There are almost 80 sizes available for 18-23 inch rims, with tyre widths from 225 to 335 millimetres and aspect ratios between 25 and 45 percent. The SportContact 6 is approved for speeds of up to 218 mph.

ContiEcoContact 5 – Safety and fuel efficiency aligned in one tyre

Combining short braking distances on wet and dry roads with low rolling resistance used to be considered the ultimate challenge. In the ContiEcoContact 5, Continental has a tyre that combines the two attributes with ease. The tyre developers introduced changes in all aspects of the tyre. The result, combined with shorter braking distances on wet roads, is a 20 percent drop in rolling resistance and 12 percent more mileage. The ContiEcoContact 5 is manufactured for a breadth of cars from 13-20 inch rims, widths of 165 to 245 millimetres and with approvals for speeds of up to 186 mph.

Proven test success and manufacturer approvals

Since around one third of all new European-built cars are factory-fitted with premium tyres from Continental, there is also an extensive range of replacement tyres available that have been produced to the car manufacturers’ specifications. These can be ordered from local retailers as well as from car dealers. With the SportContact 6, PremiumContact 6 and ContiEcoContact 5, Continental has the right tyre for almost any needs. In tyre UK tests, Continental products continue to scoop best-in-test accolades – with the PremiumContact 5 currently holding the Auto Express 2017 best summer tyre. The Sport Contact 6 gained pole position in its first UK tyre test, winning the 19 inch 2016 EVO summer tyre test – boasting very strong wet and dry handling.

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Aftermarket News In the News

The Michelin star chef inspired by judo

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He is the owner of a two Michelin star restaurant in Paris and the author of a series of popular cooking books.

 Yet Thierry Marx maintains the secret ingredient to his success can be found on the judo mat rather than in the kitchen.

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CNN goes behind-the-scenes with Marx in his kitchen, who explains how the disciplines required to be a top-level chef correlate with being a black belt judoka.

“Judo, like cooking, involves the mastering of gestures … the mastering of time,” Marx explains to CNN’s Judo World “The relationship with martial arts – judo and jujitsu, is the capacity to remain serene even in the most stressful moments.”

 Marx started studying the martial art whilst growing up in the Menilmontant neighbourhood in Paris, and describes how “The Gentle Way” offered a welcome distraction.

“I was very bad at school, I failed a lot and we were in a very poor neighbourhood,” he says. “Judo was free, so I dreamed of Japanese films and Japanese sports.”

Together with his coach Benoit Campargue, himself a former European Championship-winning judoka and coach to two-time Olympic gold medal winner Teddy Riner, Marx is hoping to introduce a new generation of Parisians into the sport through the three-month “Pass’Sport Pour l’Emploi” (Passport for employment) program.

 Marx tells CNN’s Judo World: “We created Pass’Sport Pour l’Emploi to help these young people say ‘Okay, I’ll get involved… I’ll feel better with my body and my spirit and I can now approach employment.’”

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Aftermarket News

BACK TO NATURE

Eight in ten of us think the smartest breakthroughs in science, technology and safety will come from copying nature – citing examples like cats eyes, Velcro and solar panels – found new research out today.

Biomimicry is the imitation of nature to solve the challenges we face. The study of 2,000 adults revealed that people agree it is four and a half times more effective to mimic nature than develop ideas from scratch.

The research for Uniroyal, the rain tyre, saw that one in four of us are fascinated by technology found in swimsuits, boat surfaces and car tyres, all modelled on the characteristics of shark skin that has microscopic patterns to allow better water dispersal.

People believe that biomimicry is better because it offers proven results, is a more natural solution and a better use of scarce resources.

Mark Griffiths at Uniroyal said: “Quite often the challenges we face have already been solved, so putting our brightest minds to work studying the natural world makes sense.

“Our experts at Uniroyal recognised the exceptional dispersal of water by shark skin and inspired by that developed some of the best performing tyres for wet weather braking.”

The research found that we believe that healthcare (55 per cent), energy generation (43 per cent) and food and farming (31 per cent) are the sectors that are likely to benefit most from biomimicry.

Other sectors to gain are in the areas of environmental protection, water conservation and transport.

Mark Griffiths adds: “Based on shark skin, Uniroyal ensures fantastic water dispersal on wet roads allowing vehicles to perform at their safest. When the tyre is able to get rid of surface water more quickly, it is less likely the car will aquaplane and the driver lose control.”

The study also found that a third of motorists are unaware that manufacturers develop tyres specifically for rain and wet conditions.

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Aftermarket News

Middle East supercar owners rev into action for the ‘Pirelli P Zero Experience’ Track Day at Yas Marina Circuit

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Petrolheads spanning the UAE and the wider region descended on Yas Marina Circuit, the home of the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, on Friday, February 9 to test the latest offering from premium tyre manufacturer Pirelli in the thrilling ‘Pirelli P Zero Experience’.

A convoy of more than 200 supercars, from across the UAE, GCC and Jordan, took to the iconic Yas Marina track, forming a multimillion dollar convoy. The supercar owners were then given the opportunity to satisfy their need for speed in a two-lap drive around the 6.5km full F1 circuit.

The dazzling car convey stunned the attendees as it includes the fastest vehicles around the globe including the Ferrari 458 Speciale, Lamborghini Aventador SV, McLaren 675 LTs, Lamborghini Huracan, Porsche 918 Spyder, Porsche 991 GT3R and many others.

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Pirelli teamed up event sponsor Porsche to give motoring enthusiasts the opportunity to try out the Italian brand’s latest, famous P Zero tyres, with a spin around the track in Porsche’s latest supercar models.

“It was a pleasure to have so many supercars in the one place and be able to satisfy the petrolheads’ need for speed in a safe environment, while showcasing the latest innovation in Pirelli’s renowned tyre technology with the P Zero,” said Carlos Milani, Managing Director Pirelli, Middle East and India, Pirelli.

“It is testament to the widespread appeal and reputation of the P Zero Experience that we had supercar owners from across the GCC and Jordan fly in with their vehicles just for this event. And, it was especially pleasing to witness most of the supercars in attendance were fitted with Pirelli tyres, proving to us that we are meeting demand for quality, performance and reliability.”

“This was the first event for 2018 with our circuit partners Pirelli and our third of the series. Hosting this great brand is always a privilege. Working with a client who allows our in-house Event Team to get creative and deliver a complete branded fit out of their event space allows us to add value and makes for a fun and engaging day out”. Jo Bates, Head of Events Management, Yas Marina Circuit.’

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Interviews and Reports

HATECO a One Stop Destination for all Automotive Needs

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Around the year, Arab Motor World Staff receives calls and inquiries about where to go for the best car servicing and what is needed for better car care.

Thus we have decided to shed light on the main companies in the business and highlight their history, present and future.

For this issue, we will be visiting HATECO S.A.R.L. headquarters in Tripoli for an insight about their progress in the automotive servicing industry.

History and the road to the future:

Hamad Ajaje Trading Establishment Company was founded in 1970 by Hamad Ajaje under the name of Hamad Ajaje Trading & Sons to promote tires and batteries in Tripoli, Lebanon. The venture evolved over the years to enter 2001 with its new name: HATECO S.A.R.L.

At present, the firm manages three branches and one main headquarter to efficiently serve its customers and has become one of Lebanon’s key importers and sole distributors of some of the best international brands in the fields of Tires, Batteries, Wheels, Lubricants and other automotive related products.

In addition, HATECO expanded over the years and entered 2013 with the opening of a new Workshop consisting of the latest technology and equipment to introduce new automotive services to the retail industry.

As a result, the company has built a solid reputation of reliability for its stakeholders and will always remain the most trusted name for automotive related products.

HATECO’s vision is to be the major provider of all automotive-related products in Lebanon and the MENA region.

HATECO’s mission is to bring the best automotive-related products from around the world and distribute them to the people of Lebanon and the MENA region.

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Here’s a quick look at HATECO’s main services:

  • Oil Change
  • Wheel Alignment
  • Brake Disc Services (Change or Straightening)
  • Brake Pads
  • Wheel Balancing
  • Repair Services
  • Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance
  • Steering and Suspension
  • Rim Straightening
  • Wiper Blade Services

* Use of Bosch products for oil filters, brake discs,
brake pads, and suspension parts.

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HATECO S.A.R.L. manages several brands covering all aspects of automotive servicing such as:

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In addition, HATECO S.A.R.L. has expanded from a national company covering only the Lebanese territories to a wider international network serving: Syria, Iraq, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Ghana, Gambia, Congo, Liberia.

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Aftermarket News

Bridgestone MEA announces appointment of new Sales Director

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Bridgestone Middle East & Africa has appointed Stefano Sanchini as the new Sales Director to help spearhead the organisation’s continued growth across the region.

Stefano Sanchini, who joined as Sales Director contributes more than 18 years of experience in the automotive industry, 14 of which were gained in the tyre industry. Having 5 years of experience in the Middle East and Africa region, Sanchini manages the sales activities for Bridgestone’s Middle East and Africa’s Branches, Commercial Channel Development, Technical Services (Commercial and Consumer) and Retail divisions.

During his career, Sanchini has worked across various functions to understand the inner workings of the sector. He began in Production, before moving on to Supply Chain, IT, Marketing, and finally, Sales.

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“Experience has shown me that the MEA region presents automotive brands with a unique set of opportunities, which I’m thrilled to be helping Bridgestone capitalize on,” Commented Sanchini. “A combination of tough road conditions and a passion for driving has seen high demand for commercial and high-performance tyres in the region, along with convenient, affordable maintenance. With this at top of mind, expanding networks of First Stop service centres are currently being rolled out in the Middle East. My goal is to make sure our branches and partners can satisfy the growing demand for quality tyres, and keep the region’s motorists on the move.” He added.

Supporting Sanchini with the task of increasing profitability for Bridgestone in MEA is Berna Akinci who was appointed last year, in 2017, as the Marketing General Manager, following eight years at BriSA Turkey, a joint venture between Bridgestone and the Sabanci Group. In her role, Akinci is responsible for Bridgestone’s product management, market intelligence, channel management, communication, and business planning in the MEA markets.

Akinci carries over experience in these areas from her time at BriSA Turkey, where she rose to the position of Commercial Products Marketing Manager. As such, she was a key member of the management team driving growth within BriSA through strategic initiatives including the development of a second factory, retail expansion, the launch of a non-tyre product portfolio, and the creation of a customer value proposition, among other initiatives.

“This is a very exciting time for Bridgestone. Not only has the company recently launched some fantastic innovations in its product line-up, but we have ambitious plans to grow our retail offer through giving motorists the tyres they need for every road condition.” Commented Akinci.

“We know the automotive market is fiercely competitive here, which makes the department’s role in communicating the benefits of Bridgestone’s products and services all the more important. Ultimately, we want motorists to gain the most from their vehicle, and tyres have an integral part to play in this.” She added.

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Aftermarket News

Continental introduces first tyre range developed specifically for the Middle East

Image-3---Jose-Luis-de-la-Fuente---Managing-Director-at-Continental-Middle-East

Continental, the premium German tyre brand, has become the first manufacturer to develop a full range of tyres specifically for the Middle East market. Officially launched in the region this week, Continental’s new Generation 6 range of products offers car owners a selection of robust tyres designed to cope with the unique road conditions found across the region.

The Generation 6 range comprises three distinct product lines: ComfortContact 6 for smaller cars and city driving, UltraContact 6 for larger sedans and MaxContact 6 for high performance vehicles. The new range will go on sale across the Middle East early in 2018, combining advanced German technology and all-round automotive know-how with local expertise to deliver unmatched levels of comfort and robustness, as well as first-class handling and braking abilities, ensuring one of the safest ranges of tyres on the market in line with the brand’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating fatalities, injuries and accidents on the roads.

The robust design of the new Generation 6 range provides high resistance to damage from hazards such as potholes, debris and kerb impacts, helping to prolong the tyre’s life. All products feature the latest technological advances for enhanced grip, handling and braking, and quieter and more comfortable rides.

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Continental has invested significant resources to ensure that the region’s car owners can now enjoy the benefits of the company’s expertise. Upon opening its Middle East office in 2014, the brand commenced a detailed programme of research into the market. This was followed by a two-year development and production phase, which has resulted in the creation of 60 different tyre sizes across the three lines.

Like all of Continental’s tyres, the new Generation 6 tyre range was put through an extensive testing process including a series of tests in Middle East, the tyres’ target markets. In addition, the new tyre range was also tested at Continental’s fully-automated tyre-testing in-house facility in Hannover, the only such facility owned by a tyre manufacturer in the world. The facility employs over 800 employees at the company’s Research and Development (R&D) and Testing divisions in Germany. Testing and evaluating over 250,000 tyres every year, under all conditions, the company covers more than 160,000,000 km in endurance and high speed tests and evaluates more than 250,000 materials.

 The new tyre range was launched this week (13 December) at a special driving event at the Dubai Autodrome, attended by some 110 Continental importers, retailers and distributors. José Luis de La Fuente, Continental Middle East’s managing director, said: “The Middle East is a key market for Continental – our products very much lend themselves to the climatic and driving conditions encountered across the region. But we wanted to take our offering to the next level and provide our customers an even higher quality choice of tyres, so developing a range bespoke to the region was the natural next step.”

One of the top three automotive suppliers worldwide, Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for the sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. It offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable transport solutions, including brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics and tyres. As a leading global tyre manufacturer, Continental’s tyre division generated sales of €10.7 billion in 2016 and has over 24 production and development locations worldwide.

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Continental’s new Generation 6 range

ComfortContact 6

The ComfortContact 6 has been designed for owners of smaller cars who use them for the daily commute and who expect a premium tyre that offers good mileage and a quiet, safe ride. This new tyre displays exceptional qualities when it comes to dry handling and ride comfort. It also delivers low noise levels, optimised rolling resistance and higher mileage.

The impact of road noise is lessened by two new features. ‘Harmonic comfort chambers’ located on the inner shoulder of the tyre pattern reduce noise harshness and direct noise emissions away from the car’s occupants, while specially designed round-shaped groove elements further break up the noise waves to reduce sound levels. The polymers of the tyre compound are combined with a strong, durable sulfur network and feature special softeners that adapt better to the roughness of the road surface, which combine to deliver both a more comfortable ride and higher mileage.

 

UltraContact 6

A balanced tyre for everyday driving, especially on highways, the UltraContact 6 targets owners of mid-size saloon cars, from the Nissan Altima up to the BMW 5 and Jaguar XF, who are seeking an ideal combination of driving comfort, safety and performance. It delivers extremely short braking distances in dry and wet conditions, a high grip level for braking and cornering, and the perfect combination of good mileage and low noise.

The chamfered angle of the UltraContact 6’s Diamond Edge tread pattern helps reduce tread flex and maximise road contact when braking. An advanced Diamond Blend Compound features a combination of short-chained grip-polymers for advanced braking and handling, and long-chained mileage-polymers for reduced wear. The introduction of Noise Breakers 2.0, an enhanced version of the existing Noise Breaker concept, cuts noise waves within the tyre grooves for a quieter trip.

 

MaxContact 6

With the MaxContact 6, Continental’s experts have developed a high performance tyre to satisfy the demands of experienced drivers seeking the thrill of driving, even in everyday commuting, in models such as Ford Mustang, BMW 5 series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class and E-Class. They expect a performance-driven tyre that excels in braking and handling in dry and wet conditions with strong grip and direct feedback from the road.

The extreme high grip requirements are met by a specifically designed Adaptive Grip Compound, which incorporates special adhesive polymers within the tyre’s compound, while six functional elements in the Multifunctional Tread optimise braking distances, handling and grip. A newly designed, adaptive Xtreme-Force ply material is made of polyester and woven into a solid fabric structure that reduces flexing during hard cornering and at high speeds to provide maximum control and better handling, while at lower speeds it retains its flexibility for a comfortable ride.

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Feature Coverage Videos Interviews and Reports

Spending the day with Keskin Wheels and Syron Tires at ESSEN Motor Show 2017

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We got the chance to spend the day at Keskin Wheels and Syron Tires stand during the last Essen Motor Show event 2017.

During our visit, we got the chance to have fun, laugh, interact with the staff, talk to drifting and motorsport experts from Syron motorsport team and most importantly felt the engagement and the interest of car tuners in their brands.

It was a snowy day in Essen and very cold outside the Messe Essen however on the inside the warmth welcome of the Keskin Wheels and Syron tires made the balance, the day started with a tour around the Keskin Wheels’ new collection and may I say what a beautiful collection I personally loved the Hurricane design on Keskin wheels I think it will look amazingly beautiful on any European vehicle.

As for Syron Tires, we got the chance to sit with the drifting couple Corinna and Alexandre Graff; Alex is the head of motorsport team at Syron tires, holder of several Guinness World Records in drifting and one of Germany’s top drifter, who explained to us about their experience with Syron tires and how they benefit from the German engineered tire technology whether in car control or controlled drifting.

Later that day, we were joined by two gorgeous models that literally set the stand on fire. The models were posing on the cars on display at Keskin and Syron stand and give the audience a sense of beauty and the beast. And if you think this was fun wait till you get a visit from the killer in scream movies that tried to steal the Keskin Wheels and Syron tires and was faced by forceful resistance from the team and the fans.

We would like to thank the Keskin and Syron team for having us that day, it was a blast both on the entertaining level and on the technology and German engineering knowledge.

We would like to invite our fans and readers to check them out as I believe it will create a revolution in the world of wheels and tires.

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Aftermarket News

Continental Introduces Fully Automated Valet Parking

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Continental Automotive Group, the German company which specialises in tyres and automotive technology, has developed an automated technology solution, enabling cars to valet park without a driver. Recently presented to the public at the 2017 International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, the fully automated Valet Parking function was demonstrated in a demo vehicle at Continental’s premises in the city.

Continental’s latest innovative technology has been presented at a time when autonomous driving is an increasingly hot topic in the Middle East as a number of GCC governments have revealed their plans to develop smart cities and boost autonomous driving.

“With valet parking, we have presented a driverless function, which relieves drivers from a tedious procedure,” explained Alfred Eckert, Head of Advanced Technology in Continental’s Chassis & Safety division. “The valet parking function provides drivers with a beneficial service in terms of convenience and time. It is also a concrete step towards modern mobility based on fully automated driving.”

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With this new technology, once the driver has exited the vehicle, the car navigates independently through the parking garage barrier, detecting free parking spaces and parks fully autonomously on the first floor. Pedestrians and other vehicles crossing its path are detected and the driving strategy is adapted dynamically. The next stage of development, which Continental’s team of engineers in Germany are working on now, will mean the system can also navigate up and down ramps to other levels in multi-storey parking facilities.

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An adaptable system

In the case of the first stage scenario demonstrated for valet parking, the system communicates wirelessly with the entry barrier. For this purpose, a particular communication infrastructure is activated in the barrier to allow access and calculate the time parked through an automatic process. This technology is already available in parking garages, where it is used in the form of a radio frequency identification system for parking permit holders. However, where parking barriers require a ticket for entry, drivers will have to get their tickets manually, drive through the barrier, exit the car, and then hand the rest of the parking procedure over to the vehicle. Upon request, the vehicle will return to the owner with a simple tap on a button on a mobile application for valet parking, leading the car to the exit barrier.

Continental has developed this software to enable vehicles to find a parking space regardless of the infrastructure in a parking garage. The demo vehicle detects its surroundings using four short-range radar sensors, four surround-view cameras and a forward-facing mono camera. Through the use of sensory data and a digital map, the vehicle will determine its exact position in the parking garage and navigate automatically. The sensory-based approach of the valet parking function with ramp navigation is expected to be available to the public by 2022.

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Autonomous driving in the Middle East

As a number of GCC governments begin to roll out their own plans, particularly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the unveiling of Continental’s new technology is timely and in line with the focus on developing smart cities and boosting autonomous driving. This includes Dubai Roads and Transport Authority’s ongoing goal to make 25 percent of all journeys driverless by 2030, and Saudi Arabia’s plans for the US$ 100 billion King Abdullah Economic City remodelling to better accommodate driverless cars in recognition of potential future demand.

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Using the senses of the CUbE – Continental Urban Mobility Experience provides safety of driverless vehicles

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Continental, the leading automotive and technology company, unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show (IAA) the CUbE (Continental Urban Mobility Experience), an innovative and convenient application, developed to help the vehicle reach a required destination safely and comfortably without a driver. A reality that has been realised by Continental, CUbE is a development platform for the wider range of the company’s technologies that are needed to advance the operation of future driverless mobility systems.

Autonomous, electrically powered vehicles – without a driver, steering wheel or brake pedal – are expected to make an important contribution to improving the traffic situation and consequently the quality of life in urban areas. In alignment with the development of driverless mobility, Continental has acquired a minority share participation in the French company EasyMile SAS.

“We are partnering with EasyMile to enhance our capabilities in the development of technologies for fully autonomous driving in all urban areas – not just those the cars have been trained for,” explained Dr. Elmar Degenhart, Chairman of the Continental Board. “By 2050 more than two-thirds of all people will be living in cities, twice as many as today. For seamless mobility, the cities of the future will require enhanced shared mobility systems. These include new fleets of robot taxis: automated vehicles that are in fact small computers on wheels – electrically powered and extremely efficient. Our systems will make such vehicles more cost-effective, environmentally friendly, convenient and safe.”

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If driverless vehicles are to share the highways with other road users in the future then they must master the entire SensePlanAct chain of effects involved in driving. They must acknowledge the vehicle’s environment, interpret traffic situations correctly and act accordingly. Continental is already looking into the challenges which face the urban environment including the recognition of the properties of streets, sidewalks, traffic signs, traffic lights, actions of pedestrians, cyclists and cars, in order to adapt the vehicle’s driving strategy accordingly.

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Position determination is performed in the background undetected by the passengers. As well as using high-precision GPS as a reference, Continental also works with innovative algorithms including a central control unit ADCU (Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit) compares the current echo from the installed radar sensors with the known radar echo from an echo map and a radio solution with transmitters on the edge of the route that provide precise distance measurements to further improve its operations.

At present, CUbE perceives its environment by means of its own radar sensors and cameras that have proven their reliability millions of times as series components. In the medium term, Continental’s laser-based sensors (LiDAR) will also become part of the sensor platform.

Thanks to the installed sensors, CUbE identifies pedestrians and communicates with them by means of an external display, giving priority to anyone who is in the vehicle’s path. CUbE recognises traffic lights, their position and switching phase, thus allowing a perfect integration of the vehicle into the traffic flow. CUbE also uses a camera and Vehicle-to-X (V2X) communication to communicate with the traffic light system. The combination of the two technologies is one of many examples of redundant system solutions that are necessary to ensure safety in many areas.

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