AKRON (May 21, 2004) – The roll-out of the Goodyear Assurance is “shaping up to be the most successful product launch in our history,” according to Goodyear Chairman and CEO Robert Keegan.
Speaking to stock analysts during a conference call on Goodyear's fiscal 2003 financial results, Mr. Keegan said dealer orders of the new tires are three times higher than the company's initial estimates.
He did not provide specific shipment numbers, but said the company has had trouble keeping the Assurance supply coming to dealers. “We're struggling to keep everyone inventoried, and that's a nice problem to have,” Mr. Keegan said.
In order to provide sufficient supply, Goodyear is making the tire line at four plants—Lawton, Okla., Napanee, Ontario, Tyler, Texas, and Gadsden, Ala.
Goodyear launched the Assurance line – the Assurance ComforTred touring tire and TripleTread all-season tire – at its national dealer meeting in February in Orlando, Fla.
For comparison purposes, Goodyear has said in the past it sold 650,000 Aquatreds in the first six months of that product's launch in 1991.
Goodyear is banking on widespread acceptance of the Assurance as a cornerstone of its turnaround efforts.
Regarding the performance of North American Tire, Mr. Keegan said, “While North American Tire is not yet performing at the level we need, we see positive results which are confirming that the right plans are in place, the right actions are being taken and we are starting to return this important business to profitability.”