In order to drive further technical improvements and leverage on synergies in the global technical setup, Kenda and Starco are combining their technical teams in Europe. The move is in line with Kenda’s growth strategies for its significant R&D investments in Europe and both companies’ European growth plans.
Founded in Taiwan, Kenda produces tires for cars, bicycles, light trucks, vans, trailers, uhp and wheelchairs with plants in China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia and offices in Taiwan, Germany and the US. Kenda acquired Starco in 2017. Headquartered in Denmark, Starco is engaged in B2B business, working primarily with OEMs and national distributors. The company delivers wheel and tire solutions for the light transportation, inndustrial vehicles, utility and ground care vehicles, tractors, agricultural implements, trailers & caravans and specialised vehicles segments, as well as to national distributors. Starco has manufacturing plants in the UK, Croatia and China, as well as sales, fitting and distribution centers all over Europe.
Since Kenda acquired Starco, the level of collaboration between technical teams in Europe and the US has grown and now the companies are joining forces and combining technical resources into one organisation.
Kenda has invested significantly in research and development over the last few years, especially in the US, in the Kenda America Technical Centre in Akron, Ohio. The set up in Europe will be integrated and reinforced, with significant investment in personnel and equipment planned over the coming years.
The new European team will consist of 14 employees. Kenda has over 250 technical team members across the world, and this number is expected to grow to 300 before 2022.
Starco’s Technical Director, Mr. Mike Green, and his team will report to the Kenda Europe organisation led by Mr. Frits van der Steege, Kenda’s European Technical Director, based in Starco’s Winsen, Germany, office. Mr. van der Steege explained that there were no plans to make any employees redundant and in fact that there are plans to recruit additional engineers to the team to improve capabilities and resources to support growing the business.
Starco is reputed for its insight into the use of applications and knowledge of tire and wheel performance, this capability will be further strengthened when joining forces with the Kenda technical team.
The companies explained that over the next few years, a new Kenda Europe Technical Center is to be established, with investments in the necessary equipment, personnel and capabilities to develop both tires and wheels – not just rubber and steel, but also with polymers such as PU.