'New products are the public face of Goodyear', Keegan says
New products have energized Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co's dealer network, Bob Keegan, chairman and CEO, said during a conference call to discuss the company's fourth quarter and year-end results.
These products include 12 new tires for the consumer level, and four commercial level products. All of these new tires were revealed to Goodyear dealers recently at the company's annual dealer meeting in Washington, D.C., which was attended by more dealers than the previous year. "Our dealers are enthusiastic and hugely supportive," of the company's actions, Keegan says. "New products are the public face of Goodyear."
The focus on new products in a down market provides dealers with marketing tools and strengthens their future, Keegan says. "These are truly extraordinary times that require extraordinary actions."
Darren Wells, the company's executive vice president and CFO, says the environment remains volatile, but Goodyear has plans in place to move the business forward.
In North America and Europe, dealer inventories are in a "pretty good place" for consumer tires for the replacement market, notes Keegan. No so with commercial tires, where dealers have inventories to work off.
The company has seen demand for mid-tier consumer tire products, and some of the 12 new consumer-level products are addressing that niche, Keegan says. "We have the product lines to address the need, and that's something I wouldn't have said a year, year-and-a-half ago.
"Flexibility is an imperative," he adds. There is a pent-up demand being created, and there will be a bounce-back at some point in the market.
"I won't speculate on a point in time," he says. "History is some guide, but not a perfect guide."