AKRON (Dec. 19, 2000)—General Motors announced the Oldsmobile division its 103-year-old brand name will be phased out over the next three years or sooner if the brand is no longer "economically viable." However, GM´s decision apparently will have little impact on the Big Three makers of original equipment tires.
Oldsmobile´s sales through the end of November, nearly 266,000 units, were off 18.5 percent compared with 1999, according to Automotive News, a sister publication of Tire Business. The brand´s sales have been declining since 1986 when more than one million Oldsmobiles were sold.
According to TB estimates, Michelin North America Inc. provides about 40 percent of the original equipment tires used by GM. A Michelin spokeswoman said the company provides OE fitment tires for three Oldsmobile models—Alero, Aurora and Bravada.
However, only about 25 percent of MNA´s tire sales are OE, the spokeswoman said. "We´ve got a real balance between OE and replacement," she said, "so we´ve got enough time to make up for lost business."
Goodyear provides about 35 percent of the OE tires used by GM, according to TB, and a Goodyear spokesman said: "It´s too early to tell what the effect (of Oldsmobile´s demise) will be."
The same tires Goodyear provides for Oldsmobile are used on Pontiac and Buick models, he said. "From everything GM is telling us, there won´t be a decline in volume," he added. "GM will sell more Pontiacs and Buicks to make up the difference."
Bridgestone/Firestone provides about 11 percent of GM´s OE tires according to TB. A BFS spokeswoman said the Oldsmobile Silhouette (sales of over 37,000 units through Nov. 30 according to Automotive News ) is the only Oldsmobile OE fitment for BFS. There will be little impact in the short term, she said, because GM is phasing out Oldsmobile over an indefinite period of time.