The 2011/09/05 at 13:07
Alexandre T. Analis
A graduate in aeronautic engineering from the University of Liège, Jean-Pierre Jeusette, 50 years old, started his career in aeronautics and space research into computer simulations and calculations. He joined GIC*L in 1989 as an engineer in the Calculations division, before becoming Head of the Computational Mechanics division (2000), Head of the Tyre Vehicle Engineering Technology division (2003), and Head of Tyre Technology for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Since 1 June 2011, he has been the new Chief Executive of GIC*L.
Commerce International: Can you briefly introduce GIC*L?
Jean-Pierre Jeusette: “The GIC*L is Goodyear’s largest research and development centre for tyre technology outside of the United States. Inaugurated in 1957, it took on its definitive name in 2009; previously it was known as the Goodyear Technical Centre Luxembourg (GTC*L). The innovation centre employs around 1,000 scientists, engineers and technicians whose mission is to innovate in terms of tyres for leisure, vans, heavyweight and agricultural vehicles for European, Middle Eastern, African, Asian and Australian markets, as well as in terms of fundamental research and new technologies for offering even greater comfort, security and performance to our clients. We also have two test tracks: one in Colmar-Berg (Luxembourg) and one in Mireval (France) which opened in 1984. Innovation is primordial for the Goodyear group which devoted 1.8 % of its turnover to R&D last year.”
How do your work teams operate?
J.-P.J.: “We work on about ten big technological projects, each of which is piloted by a project leader. These projects deal with tyre performance on wet ground, dry ground, mud, grass, and in winter conditions (snow and ice), rolling resistance, increasing mileage or else mobility solutions such as the RunOnFlat tyre. While we have always been integrated into an international group, it should be pointed out that we were once overly inward looking. Today, we have multiple links with technological centres, universities and grandes écoles worldwide: in the United States, Europe, China, India, Russia... In conjunction with these, we have launched the External Science & Technology Programs to develop the new technologies to be used in our new products.”
Do you work for all brands of the Goodyear group?
J.-P.J.: “Yes, and on this note, it should be said that Goodyear is the sole tyre manufacturer worldwide to offer such a comprehensive range of products with two premium brands (Goodyear, Dunlop), as well as mid-range (Fulda, Sava) and entry-level (Debica) brands. The products under the various brands are developed with the aim of reducing rolling resistance and protecting the environment. Yet the positioning of the two premium brands is distinctive. Goodyear is aimed at drivers concerned about security, comfort and sound conduct when braking on wet tracks. Dunlop is more aimed at car lovers who favour a sporty driving style accompanied by maximum security. The latter is very successful in Germany for example, a country where there are few speed limits. The objective, once again, is to effectively launch onto the market a continuous flow of products under all brands, for all segments and for different seasons of the year. Today, we are working on products that will be seen in one to five years’ time, and concepts that will emerge in over five years from now.”
What are the driving forces of innovation for Goodyear?
J.-P.J.: “Upstream, there are ideas: market studies show us that consumers would like greater security. We thus examine the means that need to be implemented to improve this aspect. In addition, the European Union is developing new laws to increase security and to protect the environment. For example, 20 % of a vehicle’s energy loss comes from tyre rolling resistance. The technological challenges we need to take up are thus of capital importance, and we are very proud to be contributing to the improvement of road security and to expand driver mobility.”
In terms of EU legislation, what is going to change on 1 November 2012?
J.-P.J.: “This date will correspond to the enforcement of the law on new labelling requirements. All tyres produced from July 2012 onwards will need to display new labels aimed at steering the general public towards more secure and more fuel-economical tyres. These will inform the consumer on tyre performance on wet tracks, on external rolling noise and rolling resistance. As for house-hold equipment, criteria are graded from A to G. We reserve a very positive response to this new law as this labelling will allow consumers to compare tyre performance and thus make better choices. 1 November 2012 also marks the starting date for when vehicles will need to be fitted with tyre pressure sensors along with dashboard indicators.”
What are Goodyear’s leading products today?
J.-P.J.: “These are extremely numerous, but I can point out the Goodyear RunOnFlat and the Goodyear EfficientGrip. The last generation of the RunOnFlat was launched three years ago; as its name indicates, this is a tyre that runs on flat which offers a range of advantages for drivers and the environment. It can chiefly allow drivers to drive after a tyre puncture, even with a tyre at zero pressure for at least 80 km at a maximum of 80 km/h. On top of offering security and mobility, this prevents the driver from being stalled during his or her trip. The EfficientGrip was developed by Goodyear engineers and launched two years ago. This ‘green tyre’, whose security performance was confirmed by tests carried out by the TÜV SÜD Automotive, allows rolling resistance to be cut by 13 % compared with four other tyre market leaders (TÜV SÜD Automotive test in March 2009), fuel consumption to be cut by 1.9 % and lifespan to be increased by 8 %. This year, we launched the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2, an ultra-high performance summer tyre that has met with great success. In terms of winter tyres, the new Goodyear UltraGrip8 and Dunlop WinterSport4D are already available for the next season.”
More detailed information is available on the web site: www.goodyear.com.