AKRON (Dec. 17, 2007) — As the year winds down, it's probably the appropriate time to take a look at some of the tire industry's winners, losers and a few hits and near-misses in 2007.
Winners: The city of Akron, the state of Ohio, developer Industrial Realty Group L.L.C. and Goodyear for coming up with a unique plan to build the tire maker a new headquarters and keep it in the city where it was founded more than 100 years ago.
Losers: U.S. tire importers, who now face greater government scrutiny following the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-mandated recall of several hundred thousand Chinese-made light truck tires earlier this year.
Winners: Bridgestone/Firestone and its independent tire dealers, who will benefit from the huge advertising and marketing exposure the Bridgestone brand will receive from the company's high-profile marketing deal with the National Football League. It includes sponsorship of the next two Super Bowl halftime shows.
Loser: The scrap tire industry, which received a devastating setback when a federal appeals court ruled that tire-derived fuel (TDF) should be regulated under a more stringent section of the Clean Air Act. If upheld, it could force 99 percent of all scrap tire firms out of business, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).
Winners: Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and its new CEO Roy Armes for producing two straight quarters of profits after experiencing two years of red ink.
Loser: Group Michelin's Pax run-flat tire/wheel system, which failed to catch on with auto makers and consumers and resulted in the tire maker ending research and development on the technology.
Winners: Group Michelin, Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. and Bridgestone/Firestone for efforts to promote “green” environmental initiatives in the tire industry.
Losers: Consumers of good-quality used tires, after the RMA issued a bulletin alerting motorists and tire dealers of the dangers of used tires that have an uncertain history of use, and after Bridgestone/Firestone decided to stop selling them at its 2,200 retail tire stores.
Winners: All those dedicated tire professionals who have kept the motoring public running smoothly and safely during the past year. Here's wishing you a prosperous 2008.