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Good Riddance to a Lousy Year - And a Fond Farewell to MTD's Lori Mavrigian

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It almost goes without saying that 2020 has been the most unusual year in living memory. You would be hard-pressed to find a person who has not been affected by COVID-19 in some way, shape or form.

Certainly the pandemic knocked everybody in and around our industry for a loop, but none more so than the folks who make all of this a reality: the customer. 

From mid-March through the end of June, nearly 50 million new unemployment benefit claims were filed in the United States, according to data from the Commonwealth Fund. (By contrast, during the first 15 weeks of the 2007-2009 recession, 5.2 million new unemployment benefit claims were filed.)

Tiremakers were hit particularly hard by the knock-on effect. Many were forced to suspend production at their plants when original equipment and replacement demand suddenly dropped. This generated dramatic shipment revisions that are still ongoing.

You felt the squeeze, too. (But fortunately, many of you have rebounded robustly.)

That’s all old news, though. What I want to talk about is where I think we will land, as an industry, when 2020 soon draws to a close. 

If tire manufacturers’ third quarter results are any indication, we will end the year in better shape than anybody could have predicted.

“Markets turned around in the third quarter, with a clear recovery in demand compared with the previous three months,” the Michelin Group recently said. 

Demand for OE consumer tires rebounded “to the point where it ended the quarter unchanged from the prior year.” (Michelin said replacement consumer tire demand in North America rebounded by a more modest 2% during 3Q.)

“Our third quarter performance reflected a strong rebound for Cooper,” Brad Hughes, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.’s president and CEO, recently stated. The company’s consumer tire shipments grew by 9% in the U.S. during 3Q.

Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. posted a third quarter operating profit gain of more than 220%. A portion of that was driven by replacement tire sales in the U.S. 

Toyo Tire Corp. officials have reported that their company is seeing an “earlier than expected” recovery. Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. has revised its full-year results in anticipation of a “stronger than expected” rebound.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Chairman, CEO and President Rich Kramer said that his company’s 3Q results “reflect increasing momentum as the global tire industry recovered more quickly than we expected during the quarter, led by the Americas.” 

Nobody expects 2020 to match 2019. Shipments will be down. Sales will be down. But things won’t be as bad as originally expected. And our industry, as a whole, will find itself solidly positioned to tackle 2021. That’s good news.

***

Me

Our Managing Editor, Lori Mavrigian, is retiring after 41 years with Modern Tire Dealer. We'll miss her!

 

While we gladly say “good riddance” to 2020, MTD also bids a fond farewell to Lori Mavrigian, our longtime managing editor. Lori is retiring at the end of January after a 41-year career with MTD.

I met Lori when I joined this publication in 1997 and knew next to nothing about our great industry. Lori -- along with the rest of the MTD team -- welcomed me with open arms and went out of her way to show me the ropes.

Over the years, I have watched Lori work quietly behind the scenes to keep MTD rolling -- proofing stories with an eagle eye, writing articles, working with production teams to make sure the magazine makes it to the printer on time, taking beautiful photos and serving as the “bridge” between editorial and sales.

And that list of Lori’s contributions only skims the surface.

At the same time, I have watched Lori treat her colleagues and industry contacts with respect, dignity and empathy, as well as her trademark warmth and kindness.

Lori’s next chapter begins on Feb. 1 and she tells me it will include spending time with her husband, Mike, and their many pets; visiting with her extended family, including her beloved nieces; catching up with old friends; lots of gardening, reading and photography; and so much more.

It’s tough to summarize a wonderful, 40-plus-year career in just a few paragraphs. And at this point, it seems futile to try.

Lori, on behalf of MTD; our parent company, 10 Missions Media; and all of your friends throughout our industry, I simply say “so long,” “thank you,” and last but not least, “congratulations” and “happy retirement!” 

See you around! 

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at mmanges@10missions.com.

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