FRANKFURT, Germany-Bridgestone Corp., Group Michelin and Goodyear-the world's three largest tire manufacturers-all have declared their goals for the future: They want to be considered No. 1 globally. Bridgestone's plan to achieve this plateau-known as ``Global 20''-is to raise its share of the global tire market to 20 percent, from 18 percent in 1994.
Future growth will come from activities outside Japan, the company said, due to declining vehicle output in Japan and a near saturation of the domestic car market.
In particular, Bridgestone President Yoichiro Kaizaki pointed out, Bridgestone leads all tire makers in manufacturing in Asia/Pacific, the world's fastest growing market for vehicles.
Goodyear's stated objective is to ``hold a No. 1 or No. 2 position in all of the industries and each of the markets in which we participate, whether in tires, engineered products or chemicals,'' Chairman Samir Gibara told shareholders at the firm's annual meeting in April. To achieve leadership in tires, he added, Goodyear's aim is to become the lowest cost producer of the three global players. Already Goodyear has reduced its selling, administrative and general expenses (SAG) to 14.7 percent of sales from 18 percent five years ago, he said.
By comparison, Bridgestone's accounts show its SAG expenses to be nearly 29 percent of sales, although one company's accounting methods don't necessarily match those of the other.
Similarly, Michelin has reorganized its global corporate structure in order to:
Support growth and pursue new markets;
Become more responsive by getting closer to customers and markets;
Accelerate decision-making by decentralizing responsibilities;
Increase profits and performance in all sectors; and
Accelerate research to increase the technological advantage.
``We are at a crucial point in our history,'' Francois Michelin said earlier this year, citing increased global competition and constantly shifting market demands. ``That's why I consider this reorganization essential to ensure the group a future of progress and innovation into the next century.''