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BFNT truck tire sales surged in 2003

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Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire (BFNT) LLC's medium truck tire sales rose 104% last year over 2002 levels, Singh Ahluwalia, BFNT president of commercial products, truck and bus tires, told commercial tire dealers at the company's annual Bizcon meeting last night.

Bridgestone brand sales increased 101% and Firestone brand sales grew 110%.

But the big winner was BFNT's Dayton brand, whose truck tire sales jumped 117% in 2003.

"Our biggest challenge in 2004 continues to be the same (as 2003). To grow cash flow and profit."

Ahluwalia warned that issues like gray market tire sales and the proliferation of "third and fourth tier products reaching our shores" will remain problematic.

"We have to find new ways of demonstrating higher value to the end user."

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