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Goodyear plans to improve truck tire supply in 2005

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Steve McClellan, vice president of commercial tire systems for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., outlined a number of new initiatives -- and products -- at the Goodyear Dealer Conference today.

Goodyear recorded a 14% increase in commercial sales in 2004. However, the company was hampered by demand greater than supply.

Demand was heavy, supply was stretched "and according to every market forecast, it appears conditions will continue to be strong in 2005," said McClellan. To address supply problems in the replacement market, Goodyear will:

* increase product supply by improving productivity at its Danville, Va., Topeka, Kan., and Buffalo, N.Y., manufacturing facilities.

* add capacity to the Buffalo plant during the second quarter.

* source the Steelmark brand from off-shore locations.

* limit original equipment sales to strategic accounts.

New products for 2005 include the Goodyear G182 regional drive tire, which features a quiet ride; and the Kelly KLHA premium all-steer tire. Goodyear also is expanding applications for the G149 RSA line by making it available for urban markets.

Two new mixed service tires featuring DuraSeal technology were introduced to the dealers for the first time.

The new Unisteel G287 MSA is designed for fleets that spend 80% of their time on the road. It averages 40% more mileage than the G286. In contrast, the G288 MSA is designed for fleets that spend 80% of their time off-road.

Both tires feature DuraSeal tread puncture sealant. (For more information on both mixed service tires and DuraSeal, see the item from Jan. 16).

McClellan said the first phase of Goodyear's new training program was completed in December, with 275 dealers and Goodyear associates completing the course.

Additional sessions are planned for February and March of this year; by mid-March, McClellan estimates 900 sales associates will have completed the course.

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