The market in 1993 was anything but conducive to tire price increases. But several manufacturers began marginally hiking prices on specific tire lines as the year drew to a close. The latest-available (September) Producer Price Index, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor, showed wholesale prices of all types of passenger and truck tires were lower than the year before.
In May, commercial tire dealers said ``low-ball'' pricing by manufacturers was their biggest concern, as the practice was driving their profits down even while sales volumes were increasing.
But entering the second half of 1993, a number of tire manufacturers began hiking prices-most notably when five companies decided to increase prices on farm tire lines by as much as 5 percent.
Goodyear, Kelly-Springfield Tire Co., Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., General Tire and Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. all raised prices between mid-1993 and 1994.
Rising materials costs and the effect of the growing value of the Japanese yen vs. the U.S. dollar prompted two Japanese tire company subsidiaries to increase U.S. tire prices in late September.
Yokohama Tire Corp. boosted prices by 1.5 percent on its truck and bus radials and off-the-road mining and construction tires, while Sumitomo Tire (U.S.) hiked prices on its passenger and light and medium truck tires 1.5 to 3 percent.
BFS and General Tire hiked prices of off-the-road tires by at least 2 percent late in the year.