In order to strengthen technical capabilities and leverage synergies globally, Kenda and Starco are combining their two European tire development teams. This is just one facet of Kenda’s investment plans in its research and development and technical setup in Europe and both companies’ European growth plans.
Kenda acquired Starco in 2017 and since then the level of collaboration between the R&D teams in Europe and the US has grown. Furthermore, Kenda has increased its investment significantly in research and development over the last few years, mainly in the USA.
“This follows the successful strategy that Kenda has implemented in the US by heavily investing in the Kenda America Technical Centre in Akron,” explained Richard Todd, who visited the center last week. “The setup in Europe will be integrated and reinforced, with significant investment in personnel and equipment planned over the coming years.”
On the new European team there are 14 employees; in total Kenda has over 250 technical experts globally, a figure that is expected to grow to 300 before 2022.
Starco technical director Mike Green and his team will report to the Kenda Europe organization, which is led by Frits van der Steege, European technical director, located in Starco’s Winsen office.
“We have no plans to make any employees redundant. The plans are actually to recruit additional engineers to our team to improve capabilities and resources to support growing our business,” commented Frits van der Steege, technical director, Kenda Europe.
Over the next few years, Starco plans to build a new technical facility for Kenda in Europe, and as part of this will invest in equipment, personnel and capabilities to develop both tires and wheels – not just from rubber and steel, but also with polymers such as PU.