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New Goodyear polymers give it flexibility

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. says it is ready to take advantage of several new synthetic rubber products in order to reduce its dependency on natural rubber.

"We've been working on these polymers for some time, but recent natural rubber price volatility, (which) has shown no signs of subsiding soon, created a sense of urgency for our research and development people," says Joe Gingo, executive vice president for quality systems and chief technical officer.

By tapping into these proprietary polymers, Goodyear hopes to reduce its natural rubber dependency by as much as 15% over the next few years.

"In addition to the cost impact, another significant aspect of the new developments is that they will allow us to use more synthetic rubber in truck tires while we maintain or exceed our product quality expectations," says Gingo.

Natural rubber prices have climbed steadily the last few years. That trend is expected to continue through 2004, according to Goodyear.

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