AKRON—Rising raw material costs have led three of the largest U.S. tire makers to raise their prices.
Goodyear, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Michelin North America Inc. sent letters to their respective dealers in October stating the increases were necessary to offset the rising costs of oil-derived materials such as carbon black and synthetic rubber. Oil prices have increased about 30 percent in the last year.
Cooper Tire was the first to inform dealers of its intended increase: as much as 5 percent on its passenger and light and medium truck lines, effective Dec. 1. A Cooper spokeswoman said the price increase, which she said is the first for the company since 1994, would vary in amount by brand.
Goodyear and Michelin followed, with Goodyear raising prices on passenger and light truck tire lines up to 7 percent, also effective Dec. 1.
Michelin said it will increase prices of replacement truck tires 3.75 percent by Dec. 1 and aftermarket passenger and light truck tires 3 to 8 percent, effective Jan. 1. The company also will increase prices up to 5 percent in South America, Africa and the Middle East.
Although several other tire manufacturers—including Bridgestone/ Firestone Inc., Pirelli Tire North America Inc. and Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp.—said they haven't raised prices, the companies did say they will evaluate the situation.
Continental General Tire Inc. said it had no comment on the price hike. "We're in an evaluation stage," a spokeswoman said. "We can't predict what is going to happen."
A Toyo spokesman also said the firm was still "in a reviewing process. We'll probably make a decision within the next 30 days, depending on raw material costs."
Saul Ludwig, an analyst with McDonald Investments Inc. in Cleveland, said these tire price increases reflect the increase in raw material prices and will have an effect on the rest of the industry. "The increase in those companies' prices will affect other companies in the near future," he said.
This round of increases is the second set of tire price hikes this year on passenger and light truck tires. In early March, Conti General requested a 3-percent price increase, which was followed by a 3- to 5-percent hike by Goodyear and an up-to-5-percent increase by Michelin.
Soon after, Pirelli, Yokohama Tire Corp. and Toyo made similar announcements to dealers.