New tires, investment on horizon for Hercules

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New tires, investment on horizon for Hercules

Despite the challenging economy, Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. plans to introduce more new tires in 2009 than any year in its history, says Hercules CEO and President Larry Seawell.

At the same time, Hercules plans to invest $4 million to $5 million in molds next year.

The idea is to keep moving forward, says Seawell, who admits that the first half of 2009 will be "very difficult" for the domestic tire industry.

"Everybody has a lot of inventory. I think there will be a sorting out" as tire prices eventually settle at lower levels.

On the upside, pent-up demand will ultimately loosen, leading to a jump in replacement tire sales. "People are keeping their cars longer," he notes.

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