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Tire manufacturers launch RubberNetwork.com

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Six of the world's 10 largest tire manufacturers officially launched RubberNetwork.com LLC today. The joint venture, a global electronic purchasing and procurement marketplace, was founded last year by Continental AG, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Pirelli SpA, Groupe Michelin and Sumitomo Rubber Industries.

The first moves by the company, fully funded by its founding companies, include the creation of a new Web site, www.rubbernetwork.com, and the hiring of Bob Webster as vice president of operations.

"We are already at work building the network marketplace and filling key staff positions," says Webster. "Additionally, we are actively seeking other companies in the tire and rubber industry to join RubberNetwork."

Bridgestone Corp. joined the group for a short time last year before changing its mind.

RubberNetwork will initially focus on the purchasing services of the founding companies and other industry participants, according to Webster. In addition, it plans to offer a complete set of marketplace solutions to individual companies, including e-catalogs; auctions and reverse auctions; requests for proposals and quotes; and supply chain management.

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