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Goodyear looks at factors affecting earnings

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During a conference call held by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. following the release of its second-quarter earnings, company officials said there is "early, positive evidence we are on the comeback path."

This refers, in part, to market share gains in both the consumer and commercial replacement tire markets during the quarter (see related www.mtdealer.com item).

Taking part in the discussion were Robert Keegan, chief executive officer, CEO and president; Robert Tieken, executive vice president and chief financial officer; and Stephanie Bergeron, senior vice president, corporate financial operations

For the future, the company is scutinizing three key "drivers" in the market -- industry demand, raw material costs, which they see as remaining at current levels throughout the rest of the year, and a completed agreement with the United Steelworkers of America. "We are focused on resolving that uncertainty," says Keegan.

The company also is working to "continue to successfully build our relationships with our dealers."

In the commercial end, Goodyear is "working with small and medium-sized dealers to build business and sell more truck tires." Early reports on the company's new steer tires have been very positive, the company reports.

Asked if the company would increase tire prices following recent announcements from other companies, the officials noted the company raised prices 4% to 5% earlier this year, and were constantly monitoring the situation and "looking at options."

Six Sigma, Goodyear's recently adopted statistical process that uses facts and data to better drive business solutions, has been met with "good enthusiasm," says Keegan. Although it has not yet had a huge impact on the company's bottom line, Keegan is more confident now than he was just a couple of months ago of its potential for a positive impact on the company.

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