HANOVER, Germany (March 31, 2005) – Continental A.G. expects its North American passenger and light truck tire business to hit break-even by the fourth quarter, as the impact of higher prices, increased sales of lower-cost imported tires and restructuring takes effect.
“Things are going as planned,” Conti Chairman Manfred Wennemer said today, referring to the passenger/light truck tire business in North America, which reduced its losses last year vs. 2003 by an undisclosed amount.
Conti's replacement market business in North America declined “as intended,” according to Martien de Louw, executive board member responsible for the P/LT division.
Overall the business marked improvements in product mix and margins. Total passenger/light truck tire shipments increased about 2.4 percent to 102.2 million units as original equipment business improved.
Regarding commercial tires, Conti said its OE business was up nearly 20 percent over 2003, but replacement sales were down slightly “as a result of capacity shortages.” Conti said it intends to import 100,000 medium truck tires from Malaysia this year to supplement its U.S. capacity