Cooper to roll out 400 new products in 2009
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. plans to introduce 400 new tires, sizes and SKUs around the world in 2009, Cooper CEO Roy Armes told analysts during a conference call held earlier today, May 6.
Cooper’s “velocity of introductions of new products will increase during the year,” he said.
The Findlay, Ohio-based company also has “begun to expand our business in channels where we have been under-represented” and has finalized a distribution deal with a large tire retailer. (Cooper officials declined to identify the company.)
Armes addressed Cooper’s product plans in further detail. “We’ve spent a lot of time in the last year-and-a-half updating our premium products. We’re now addressing the value segment. Our sweet spot has always been in that broad-line, mid-tier category… which we will be addressing over the next 12 to 15 months.”
At the same time, Cooper plans to manage its inventory tightly. The company shipped 24% fewer light vehicle tires during the first quarter of 2009 vs. first quarter 2008 levels.
“Right now I think with the cash that most companies are trying to manage,” imventories will be kept at “very low levels.”
Cooper, like othe tire manuafcturers, said Armes, is suffering from "significant pressure" on volume due to the severe decrease in consumer tire demand. “We'll continue to curtail production."
Armes also reported that the closing of Cooper's Albany, Ga., plant is continuing as planned. Cooper is ahead of schedule “on moving production from Albany to other plants.”