HANOVER, Germany—Continental Tire North America Inc. suffered an 84.4-percent drop in operating earnings last year, to $10.6 million, as rising raw materials prices, falling tire prices and an unfavorable peso-dollar exchange rate ate into the profit margin, the company said.
The drop included a $17 million operating loss in the fourth quarter. Continental Tire's sales (adjusted for currency exchange rate influences) rose 2.4 percent to $1.63 billion, while unit sales of car and commercial vehicle tires grew 11 and 8 percent to more than 30 million and 2.7 million units, respectively, the firm said.
More than 40 percent of the company's passenger car tire business is with original equipment customers.
Continental plans to counter this trend by improving manufacturing efficiencies and launching new tire lines and expanding existing ones. That includes offering a broader range of sizes and types of its ContiTrac sport-utility vehicle and pick-up truck tire and introducing a General AmeriTrac line of SUV tires, the company said.