FRANKFURT, Germany-It's the Big Three and everyone else. That's the way the global tire industry has gone, and continues to go, as shown by TIRE BUSINESS' 1995 Global Tire Company Rankings (see chart on page 10).
The ``Big Three'' are: Groupe Michelin, the top-ranking manufacturer in the world based on 1994 tire sales ($10.9 billion), contender Bridgestone Corp. ($10.3 billion) and third-place finisher Goodyear ($9.4 billion).
These companies continue to dominate the global tire market, accounting for more than half of worldwide tire sales.
In fact, 1994 was a year of a relative stability in the global tire industry, as only two of the world's top 12 tire manufacturers-Pirelli Tyre Holding and Kumho & Co.-were in the red last year, and Kumho's loss resulted from protracted labor problems at its South Korean facilities.
Kumho's problems also led to the only change among the dozen largest companies, with Hankook Tire Manufacturing Co. Ltd. moving up to the 10th place on the strength of its 20-percent sales growth and a 4-percent drop in sales by Kumho.
From No. 13 South Pacific Tyres down, however, there was a considerable shuffling of the ranking, with China's Shanghai Tyre moving up one place to 14th and Mexico's Corp. Industrial Llantera (Euzkadi) jumping to 15th from 22nd, on the strength of full-year consolidation of results from General Tire de Mexico, acquired in late 1993.
Other movers of note were:
China Tire Holdings, which climbed 20 places to 22nd on a near doubling of sales;
Indonesia's Gadjah Tunggal, which jumped to 23rd from 26th on 18-percent sales growth; and
Thailand's Siam Tyre, which climbed five places to 24th on 20-percent higher sales.
Turkey's BRISA fell to 25th from 17th largely because the value of the Turkish lira fell 170% during 1994.
The sole newcomer to the Top 50 was a U.S. company, Titan Tire Corp., established only last year to effect the buyout of Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp.'s farm and forestry tire facility in Des Moines, Iowa.
The owner, Titan Wheel International Inc., also counts Dico Tire Inc. among its holdings, and the combined sales of the two would rank Titan as 40th.
Dropping out of the Top 50 was Malaysia's Hwa Fong Rubber Co., which experienced a slight dip in sales last year.
Also just missing the Top 50 were: Belshina of Belarus ($88 million); Taurus Rubber Co. Ltd., Hungary ($87 million); and Federal Corp., Taiwan ($81 million).
The list also refers to five Chinese companies with sales of more than $100 million, according to the accepted exchange rate for the Chinese trading currency RMB. These companies have not been ranked because of lack of previous years' sales data and questions about the true value of the RMB.
However, they are shown in the table where they would rank.