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Goodyear promises more forward progress

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"We plan to take full advantage of the momentum we have today," Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Keegan told investors earlier today.

Goodyear achieved sales of $4.8 billion during the first quarter of 2005, a first quarter record for the company and an 11% increase over first quarter 2004 results.

Goodyear also reported net income of $68 million during 1Q 2005 versus a net loss of $78 million during 1Q 2004. The total represents the first time in four years that Goodyear started a year with positive operating income.

Keegan outlined the Akron, Ohio-based tiremaker's growth over the last several years in a number of areas:

* Original equipment consumer sales. "We made the choice to be more selective in the consumer OE business in order to be less susceptible to OE volume fluctuations. Today we make our OE decisions based on the full system economics of OE sales and replacement sales."

* Replacement consumer sales. "We have dramatically enhanced our focus on product and brand mix," including Goodyear's private brand business.

* Commercial truck sales. Goodyear has capitalized on opportunities to "couple our products with service to create a cradle-to-grave value proposition," says Keegan.

* Decision making. Goodyear "has become much more analytical and market-driven. We're blending new talent from the outside with talent from within."

The resulting structural changes from the above initiatives "have driven dramatic improvements," according to Keegan.

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