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Trends tracked in "Data Book'

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AKRON—Michelin North America Inc.'s double-digit sales growth last year allowed the subsidiary of France's Group Michelin to pull even with, perhaps even slip ahead of, Goodyear as the largest tire maker in North America, based on revenue.

That development is one revelation contained in the collection of statistics, rankings and other tabular matter—collectively know as the Market Data Book—that appears in this issue of Tire Business, pages 9-24.

Michelin's revenue in North America jumped nearly 14 percent to $9.4 billion while Goodyear's estimated tire manufacturing-related sales slid slightly, to about the same volume, $9.4 billion. (See page 10.)

Goodyear also reports several hundred million dollars in revenue from auto service and related items from its Goodyear Auto Service store network and sales of chemical products. Its North American Tire business unit sales were $9.67 billion last year, a drop of 2 percent.

Michelin has no comparable captive retail sales network in North America.

Bridgestone Americas' tire manufacturing-related revenue in North America is estimated at $8.1 billion for 2012, up about 3 percent over 2011.

Bridgestone also generates more than $3 billion in revenue from its retail holdings—2,200 Firestone Complete Car Care, Tires Plus, Expert Tire stores and several hundred GCR Tire Centers and C&F Tire locations—which makes it the continent's largest purveyor of tires and related automotive service.

Bridgestone Corp. does not report sales/revenue data for North America. Tire Business calculates the North American figures based on Bridgestone's reporting for its Americas business unit, plus historical data, market trends and other sources.

Bridgestone Americas generated estimated sales of $3.75 billion in 2011—the most recent year for which comparable full-year data are available for Bridgestone and its major competitors—from its retail and commercial service locations. (See pages 9 and 14.)

Bridgestone added 26 retail stores during 2012—far fewer than the 75 it indicated in January 2012 it planned to open during 2012—expanding the retail network to 2,200 locations.

Discount Tire/America's Tire remains close behind Bridgestone with sales of $3.71 billion. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based independent retailer closed out 2012 with 850 outlets in 26 states.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is rated next with estimated tire and related auto services revenue of $3 billion, generated through more than 4,000 Walmart and Sam's Club stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.

TBC Corp. generated an estimated $2.45 billion in sales from its captive retail businesses—Tire King-dom, NTB, Merchant's and a handful of company-owned Big O Tires stores—but its extended Big O and Midas franchised networks expand the firm's reach into the retail segment by another billion dollars or more.

The aftermarket continued to evolve in favor of larger dealerships, according to the latest Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) statistics. (See page 9).

National dealerships increased their shares of the passenger tire market four percentage points to 37 percent, mostly at the expense of local dealerships, whose share dropped to 18 percent from 22 percent. The same trend affected the light truck tire sector, where national dealerships' share grew four points to 41 percent and local dealerships' share droped five points to 26 percent.

The replacement tire markets in both the U.S. and Canada shrank last year in all categories, but OE demand remained high, according to data from the RMA and Rubber Association of Canada. (See page 10.)

Demand for high-performance tires continued to increase, both at the OE and replacement market levels. (See page 20.)

The OE share for speed-rated tires, H and higher, rose 6 percentage points to 43.7 percent of all OE shipments, while the share of speed-rated tires in the aftermarket jumped one point to 30.4 percent.

Goodyear remained the No. 1 supplier of OE consumer tires last year, capturing an estimated 30 percent of the 15.5 million cars, SUVs and light trucks built in North America in 2012 with its Goodyear and Dunlop brands. (See page 10.)

Michelin North America Inc. was No. 2 at 24.5 percent with its Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal brands, while Bridgestone Americas and Continental Tire the Americas were third and fourth with 18.5 and 15.5 percent shares.

Michelin's brands collectively garnered the biggest chunk of the North American passenger tire aftermarket, 18 percent, ahead of Goodyear's brands (including Kelly) at 16 percent and Bridgestone's (including Fuzion) at 14.5 percent.

Production by U.S. tire makers also fell during the year after rebounding in 2010 and 2011 from a nine-year slide, the RMA data show.

Output of car, light truck and medium truck/bus tires fell 5.6 percent to 161.9 million units, the second lowest annual production in the past 20 years.

By category, the declines were:

c Car tires down 6.1 percent to 123.2 million units;

c Light truck tires down 2.4 percent to 25.5 million; and

c Medium truck/bus tires down 7 percent to 13.2 million units.

Oklahoma continued as the No. 1 state/province in tire production capacity, with 89,000 units of daily capacity listed at two plants. (See page 11.) South Carolina is a close No. 2 at 84,200 and is expected to surge past Oklahoma as new plants and expansions by Bridgestone Americas, Continental Tire and Michelin come on stream in the coming years.

At the same time, imports in all three categories—car, light truck and medium truck—rose, increasing the foreign share of the U.S. market again (See pages 10 and 20.)

The Market Data Book also contains benchmarking information on the automotive service sector, summaries of Tire Business' retail, commercial and retread rankings from 2012.
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