AKRON—Goodyear has secured original equipment fitments on key 1999 models, such as the Chevrolet/GMC Silverado pickup, Cadillac Escalade sport-utility vehicle and Chrysler 300M performance sedan. The Akron tire maker gains between 30 and 40 new fitments each model year, said Bryan Kinnamon, vice president of original equipment. At any given time, the company has about 200 active contracts on models that will be released as far as three or four years in the future, he said.
One of the primary reasons tire makers compete for OE contracts is to drive replacement sales—34 percent of car owners will replace their tires with brands originally installed on the vehicle, Goodyear said in a written release. In North America, on cars originally sold with Goodyear tires, 45 percent are replaced with other Goodyears, the company said.
Goodyear enjoys a 40-percent share of the North American OE tire market, Mr. Kinnamon said.
Despite benefits in the replacement market, tire makers do not pursue every OE contract, he said, noting that garnering key contracts on high-profile vehicles is more important than the number of contracts. ``It builds your brand equity being on highly visible models.''
The strategy for tire makers is to be aligned with car platforms that please customers, he said.
``We understand what the original equipment manufacturers' platform strategy is going to be on a global basis,'' Mr. Kinnamon said. ``There's a whole process to try to find the platforms that will drive replacement sales.''
In addition to the benefits in the replacement market, tire makers participate on the OE side to drive technological and process development, he said. Competition and understanding of where car engineers are headed forces tire companies to improve their manufacturing processes and develop new designs and materials, Mr. Kinnamon said.