Van, Truck, Trailer, Bus and Coach Aftermarket News in Ireland

Prinx Chengshan Thailand is state-of-the-art

‘State-of-the-art’ is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit across various press releases and PR; “state-of-the-art facility”, or “state-of-the-art technology”. It’s hard to know what claims are genuine and what’s slightly exaggerated – it’s definitely a case of, ‘you have to see it to believe it’. One such company that can proudly stand over this claim however, is Chinese tyre manufacturer Prinx Chengshan, writes Eoin Cuttle.

Aerial view of Prinx Chengshan’s manufacturing facility in Thailand (Photo: Prinx Chengshan)

To many on these shores, the name Prinx Chengshan probably doesn’t ring a bell, but it’s the company behind the Austone Tires brand, which has been distributed in Ireland for many years by Euro Tyre Sales. Prinx Chengshan is also the producers of the Fortune and Chengshan tyre brands, as well as its newly launched brand, Prinx Europe. Five completely newly developed Prinx passenger car tyres for electric and combustion powered vehicles were introduced into the European market in May 2023, and the company has since appointed Sean O’Connell Tyres in Co Cork as its Irish distributor.

Paddy Greenan, Euro Tyre Sales (Photo: Eoin Cuttle, Tyre Trade Journal)

“As a brand, we are state-of-the-art in terms of technology. Our tyres win design awards. We focus on people, their safety and the preservation of an environment worth living in,” said David Oliva, marketing manager at Prinx Chengshan Europe. To back up this claim, Prinx Chengshan hosted its ‘Getting Closer 2024’ distributor and media event in Thailand, which gave the circa 70 attendees – including the Tyre Trade Journal – the opportunity to visit and tour its tyre manufacturing facility in the province on Chon Buri, located about 130km outside the capital of Bangkok. The trip took place from 26th February to 2nd March and also included a number of leisure activities, which afforded us the chance to experience Thai culture. The Grand Palace and elephant trekking were the standouts.

Opened in 2020, Prinx Chengshan’s Thailand site is one of two global tyre production bases belonging to the company, after its facility in Shangdong, China. This event marked the first time European press and distributors visited the plant. It extends across an area of 457,000 square metres, with the factory and warehouses occupying over 68 per cent of the area. The factory has an annual capacity for 10 million passenger car radial (PCR) tyres and two million truck tyres. Its fully automated high-bay warehouse can store up to one million PCR tyres at any given time. High racks with small aisles allow vertical and horizontal storage, with mobile stackers automatically moving the tyres stored on pallets around the warehouse area. This was fascinating to see in action.

The automated tyre storage warehouse (Photo: Prinx Chengshan)

Thailand is one of the largest rubber producing countries in the world, and as part of the trip, Prinx Chengshan took us to the nearby headquarters of its rubber supplier, Thai Eastern Group Holdings (TEGH). Here, we could explore TEGH’s rubber farm where rubber is responsibly sourced and produced with minimal environmental impact. Rubber farmers demonstrated how concentrated latex is extracted from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree, which grow for around six or seven years before being ‘farmed’. The latex can then be collected over a period of 20 to 30 years. A single rubber tree produces 60-150 kg of rubber during its lifetime. From there, the concentrated latex is transported a short distance to a factory where block rubber and special grade block rubber is produced. According to Prinx Chengshan, the use of high-quality raw rubber from Thailand ensures the continuous production of tyres with exceptional performance.

A rubber farmer extracting concentrated latex from a Hevea Brasiliensis tree (Photo: Eoin Cuttle, Tyre Trade Journal)

Later that day, Michel Poirier, sales director West Europe, introduced us to three new Prinx products for the European market: the ultra-high performance Aquila REV summer tyre, the Vanea 4S van tyre, and the Quattura 4S+ all-season tyre. In the commercial tyre segment, the Austone AAR603, ATH155, and ATH135 truck tyres were also on display. These tyres are said by the manufacturer to boast low rolling resistance, good wet grip and high mileage. Cristian Tudor, product manager truck & bus tyres Europe, explained how Prinx Chengshan’s AR603, TH155, and TH135 truck tyres recently received EU 2017/2400 certification for carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption. These tyres also excelled in the TÜV Mark certification by TÜV South Germany, demonstrating significant wear resistance and energy-saving capabilities. Meanwhile, Thomas Wohlgemuth, managing director Europe, and Adrian Costache, sales director Europe, also addressed delegates.

Thomas Wohlgemuth, managing director Europe (Photo: Eoin Cuttle, Tyre Trade Journal)

Michael Chu, general manager international business at Prinx Chengshan, emphasized the company’s commitment to the European market. “We are very grateful for the support and dedication of our European partners over the past year. An increasing number of our passenger and commercial tyres have received the prestigious TÜV Mark and EU Vecto certifications. “Going forward, we are committed to working closely with our partners to raise the standard of products and services offered to European users. In the coming year, we pledge not only to introduce a variety of exceptional new products but also to expand into more diverse specifications to meet the rapid development of light vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles in the European market.”