The scarcity of carbon black and natural gas, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, is as challenging as ever, he said, driving unpredictability in the market.
Damon said carbon-black supply has become strained as countries impose sanctions on imports from Russia, a major oil and carbon-black producer.
That, coupled with tighter pollutant restrictions on carbon-black production recently implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency, is "affecting carbon black across global tire manufacturing."
The war has had a profound effect as well. Bridgestone's passenger tire plant in Ulyanovsk, Russia, has been idled since mid-March, when the tire maker froze new capital investment at the facility and halted exports of tires to Russia.
Damon said there is no timetable for it to reopen as Bridgestone management assesses the risks of every scenario.
"In terms of transportation input, fuel input all the things that affect our structural costs and customers costs, are being driven by" the war, Damon said.
"A good example is you can expect natural-gas input costs to be 2 1/2 times higher than they were last year," he said. "Heating your home, anywhere you use natural gas, you're seeing an impact. We're all seeing the diesel impact on transportation and all that is flowing back to consumers and inflationary pressures they see on end price."
Bridgestone, like all other tire makers, continues to increase prices. The company is raising prices July 1 on consumer tires sold in the U.S. and Canada by up to 10%, the third increase in 2022.
But consumers, he said, remain undeterred, at least for the time being.
"We're certainly seeing a red-hot economy that, despite the price increases and inflation, demand still remains quite strong," he said. "It is a pleasant surprise."
So what does that mean for the second half of 2022 and beyond?
Damon said even with the original equipment market soft, Bridgestone expects to meet its meet its original goals.
Among tire launches planned in 2022 are a run-flat Driveguard; a WeatherPeak touring tire; a UHP summer tire, the Potenza RE-71RS; and continuing development of products made specifically for electric vehicles.
Damon said he sees no signs of the commercial market slowing down, based on the explosion of e-commerce and last-mile delivery products.
"Tire demand will continue to be strong there and we'll have challenges post-COVID to fill that demand," he said. "When does that normalize? Even in a recessionary or slower economy, we will probably see us weather that longer."