Tire makers increase prices
AKRON-Several tire makers recently announced price increases on various tires.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has notified its customers that it will raise passenger and light truck tire prices an average of 5 percent effective Dec. 1. The Findlay, Ohio-based tire maker attributed the new pricing to increases in raw material and other production costs.
Michelin North America Inc. raised prices on certain BFGoodrich truck tires by up to 4 percent, effective Nov. 1. Michelin did not specify which BFG-brand SKUs would be affected.
Goodyear announced Nov. 1 that it is raising prices 4 to 5 percent on all consumer tires Dec. 1, as the tire maker expects 5 to 7 percent higher raw materials costs. Earlier this month Kumho Tire USA Inc. and Yokohama Tire Corp. said that on Nov. 1 they would raise passenger and truck tire prices by 3 to 5 percent and 4 to 6 percent, respectively.
However, Yokohama will postpone those increases until Dec. 1 because of inventory challenges caused by the recent port closures on the West Coast. The company's previously announced plans call for increases of 3 to 5 percent on medium-duty truck, OTR and light truck commercial tires and increases of 3 and 6 percent on passenger and light truck tires.
Flag brand market share peaks
PARIS-Consumer demand in North America for flag brand passenger and light truck tires in the aftermarket peaked last year-at about a 60-percent market share-and has now waned somewhat, according to research from Group Michelin.
Demand for flag brand tires, fueled by increased public awareness in tires caused by the Firestone Wilderness/ATX recalls of 2000, pushed the flag brand share of the aftermarket to 58.1 percent at year-end 2001 from 56.6 percent a year earlier and 54 percent at year-end 1999, Michelin said.
However, the rapid growth and subsequent consolidation is attributed largely to the sport-utility vehicle segment, where the flag brand share jumped to 67.7 percent at year-end 2001 but fell back to 64.4 percent by August, Michelin said. Overall, the flag brand share for consumer tires was back to 57 percent in August.
``In order to absorb the effects of the recalls,'' Michelin said in its third quarter results statement, ``the market must go through a consolidation phase before it can catch up with a growth rate more in line with the period from 1991 to 1999.''
In its third quarter results statement, Goodyear also noted that the U.S. replacement market had shifted away from premium brands, although it did not provide specifics. The change impacted the firm's operating income negatively.
ATD still marketing Winston brand
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C.-The uncertainty surrounding the future of Winston Tire Co.'s operations in California is not affecting American Tire Distributors (ATD) Inc.'s marketing of the Winston brand tire in states outside of California.
``We are still actively selling Winston tires in 33 states,'' said Jason Shannon, ATD director of marketing. ATD retained ownership of the Winston brand when it sold the Winston Tire retail chain in 2001 to Louisiana entrepreneur C. Bryant Kountz, Mr. Shannon said.
The volume of Winston-brand tires ATD is buying from Goodyear/Kelly-Springfield should approach $90 million this year, according to terms of the companies' private brand production agreement signed in 1997.
Cooper to debut HP tires in 2003
FINDLAY, Ohio-Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. plans to launch new and improved H-, V- and Z-rated tires early in the second quarter of next year and continue to release new sizes throughout the year, said D. Richard Stephens, Cooper Tire Group president.
``This is really to participate in a very fast-growing segment of the market and to continue to build our brand equity,'' he said.
The new high-performance tires will be based on the racing heritage of Cooper-Avon Tyres, its European tire operation, for improved ride performance, handling and traction and feature a limited number of sport truck offerings as well as numerous passenger fitments.
Cooper, at the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo, exhibited a new Cooper Zeon 2XS and Mastercraft Avenger ZHP, both of which have directional tread patterns with W speed ratings.
NHTSA sets rules for reimbursement
WASHINGTON-The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a final rule requiring tire, auto and auto parts makers to reimburse consumers for repairs or replacements made before the recall of a defective product.
As the Rubber Manufacturers Association requested, the rule allows manufacturers to deny reimbursement without proof of purchase of the recalled item and its replacement or repair. However, there are certain points the RMA disagrees with, according to Ann Wilson, the association's senior vice president.
The RMA and its members are studying the regulation to see if they will file formal objections before the Dec. 2 deadline, Ms. Wilson said. The rule goes into effect Jan. 15.