This year's Tire Business Global Tire Report rankings — the 35th annual edition — saw movement throughout the rankings.
The most notable change this year was at the very top, where Group Michelin overtook the No. 1 spot from Bridgestone, who has held the position for 11 straight years (See story, page 12). We estimate Michelin's tire manufacturing-related revenue in 2019 at $25 billion. Bridgestone is a solid No. 2 with $24.3 billion.
It's important to note how we compare these companies for our Top 75 ranking (See chart, pages 18-19). For the ranking, we chart the tire makers on their revenue from the sale of tires that they have manufactured in order to achieve a more equitable "apples-to-apples" comparison among the companies.
Excluded in the rankings are items such as third-party sales of steel cord, synthetic rubber or carbon black, as well as estimates for non-tire items such as auto-service-related revenue at company-owned retail stores.
Companies, such as Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear and Continental, report hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars in revenue from their respective captive retail networks, which generate measurable shares of their revenue from automotive-service-related activities and sales of tire brands other than their own.
Goodyear remained a solid No. 3 in the rankings at $13.7 billion, but the gap between Goodyear and No. 4 Continental A.G. narrowed for a second straight year, based on a 4.7% drop in sales by Goodyear and a 1% increase by Continental's tire business.
It's interesting to note how the top tire makers' sales distribution breaks down throughout the world markets (See chart, page 12). Michelin's distribution arguably is the most balanced across the globe, with its sales spread more equally among the three major regions — Americas, Asia/Pacific and Europe.
Of the Top 20 tire makers, only three derive more than half of their tire sales from business in North America: Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (more than 80%), P.T. Gajah Tunggal (around 56%) and Toyo Tire Corp. (around 53%). Goodyear was close with around 48% of its tire sales in the Americas.
Twenty-eight of the companies in the Top 75 are from China, including four among the top 20. Other countries represented in the ranking are: India (seven companies); Taiwan and the U.S. (five each); Japan and South Korea (four each); Italy, Thailand and Turkey (three each); Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Vietnam (two each); and one based in Argentina, Belarus, Finland, France, Germany; Netherlands and Singapore.
Collectively, the top 10 tire companies accounted for nearly 63% of the world's tire sales last year — on par with the 2019 ranking.
The most telling number to note is that overall the estimated value of the world tire industry's sales was $167 billion, down 1.2% versus 2018.
What will this number look like in next year's Global Tire Report?
What impact will the COVID-19 pandemic have on the industry as a whole?
From the somber second-quarter earnings reported by tire manufacturers, it would seem to be huge.
One thing is clear, though: The tire industry is as diverse as it ever has been.