A country rarely talked about was noted in most every financial report tire makers released in 2022. Ukraine.
Russia's invasion of and continued war against Ukraine certainly caused upheaval in the tire industry, not only for those companies with manufacturing in Russia, but also for any that sell product in the European market — pretty much all of them.
The war began Feb. 20, when Russia launched an unprovoked attack on its democratic neighbor. Some 10 months later, the conflict rages on, with no end in sight.
The global uncertainty caused by the invasion tops Tire Business' list of the Top 10 headlines of 2022. No other story came close to affecting almost every tire maker in the world, and to some degree, every tire dealer in North America.
In early 2022, seven international tire makers operated plants in Russia: Bridgestone Corp., Continental A.G., Group Michelin, Nokian Tyres P.L.C., Pirelli Tyre, Titan International Inc. and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. It wasn't too long after the invasion that each tire maker announced plans either to suspend, reduce or phase out production in Russia.
Nokian and Bridgestone went a step further, both announcing plans to leave the country.
Less than a week after war began, Nokian announced it had moved production of some of its key lines out of its plant in Russia to plants in Finland and the U.S., while securing "transport capacity from Russia with existing and new service providers."
Less than seven months later, Nokian disclosed an agreement to sell its Russian plant to Russian energy and chemicals company P.J.S.C. Tatneft, effectively completing the Finnish tire maker's exit from Russia.
Other news events impacted the North American market more directly.
Here's how we at Tire Business rank the Top 10 Headlines of 2022: