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Exclusive Interviews with Top Executives from the Six Largest Tire Manufacturers in the United States

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Exclusive Interviews with Top Executives from the Six Largest Tire Manufacturers in the United States

font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Some

of the questions were yours. But all of the answers were addressed

to you. That was my intent when I set up interviews with top executives

from the six largest tire manufacturers in the United States.

They all have significant domestic passenger and light truck tire

manufacturing capacity, but that's where the similarities seem

to end.

The

six "consenting" executives, in the order in which they were interviewed,

were:

*

Edouard Michelin,

managing partner of Groupe Michelin, the parent company of Michelin North America Inc. We talked by phone by way of Clermont-Ferrand,

France. I also had the chance to talk with him earlier this year

at the Michelin Americas Small Tires dealer meeting in Phoenix,

Ariz.

*

Tom Dattilo,

chairman, CEO and president of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. Tom was the only executive who talked

with me without anyone else present.

*

Bernd Frangenberg, CEO and president of Continental Tire North America Inc. The first time I interviewed

him was at the Continental General Tire dealer meeting in Las

Croabas, Puerto Rico, in 1997 (I love this job).

*

John Polhemus,

president of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s

North American Tire operations. The Goodyear dealers I've talked

with say he is making the attempt to see them.

*

Koji Ikawa,

CEO and president of Yokohama Tire Corp.

As I was driving out of the company's Fullerton, Calif., headquarters

parking lot following the interview, Mr. Ikawa was standing on

the curb to say goodbye. That's the most polite gesture I've ever

witnessed -- particularly from a high-ranking official.

*

John Lampe,

chairman, CEO and president of Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. I have known John since he was the personable

director of Dayton and private brand sales in North America for

the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. back in the late 1980s. He hasn't

changed much -- a little grayer, I guess.

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