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Dattilo says Cooper Tire has reason to expect market share growth

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Coming off a quarter in which its market share was adversely affected, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has cause to predict a turnaround in the early part of this year.

At the fourth-quarter and year-end conference call following the release of their financial results for 2001, Cooper Tire Chairman, CEO and President Tom Dattilo admitted the Tire Group lost replacement market share during the fourth quarter, with the Cooper brand faring a little better than private brands.

But he cautioned that until the "noise" from the Firestone recalls finally subsides, market share gains and losses can be misleading.

With Rubber Manufacturers Association numbers in, Cooper's tire sales in January are up vs. its January 2000 sales; its percentage increases in the passenger and medium truck tire segments are higher than the industry's percentage increases, according to Dattilo.

Also, supplies to Pep Boys, Manny, Moe and Jack, under the long-term agreement signed last year, are ahead of schedule. Under the agreement, Cooper Tire will manufacture 100% of the Cornell and Futura private brand tires supplied to Pep Boys. Dattilo says the deal may add up to four million units to Cooper's production schedule this year.

The company also signed a 10-year agreement late last year to manufacture private brand tires for TBC Corp.

According to Modern Tire Dealer's 2002 Facts Issue, the Cooper brand has a 5% share of the passenger tire market and 6.5% of the light truck tire market. Cooper has a 3% replacement market share in medium/heavy truck tires.

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