Back in black: Goodyear plans to build on 2004 momentum

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"We're on target to finish in the black for the first time since 2001," said Jon Rich at the 2005 Goodyear Dealer Meeting this morning.

Rich, president of Goodyear North American Tire, was not able to be more specific because official fourth-quarter and full-year financial results have not been released yet. (Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is expected to release its 2004 results in February.) However, he did point to nine-month operating results that were double that of the previous year.

Goodyear's strategy in 2005 will build on the momentum gained in 2004, he said. The company will continue to introduce new products ("New products are going to be the life-blood of the new Goodyear"), focus on supply chain dynamics and leverage its distribution.

"There is no customer more important to us than the independent tire dealer," he emphasized.

Fill rate problems with Kelly truck tires, Dunlop tires and the Eagle F1 in 2004 are being addressed. Truck, OTR and agricultural tire supply will remain tight industry-wide in 2005, he said.

Goodyear also continues to work at preventing unauthorized wholesaling and distribution of its tires.

"How do we win in North America? Innovation, productivity and speed," he said. Innovation involves more than just new types of tires and additional sizes; it also includes driving change in tire-related technologies such as RFID, tire pressure monitoring systems and run-flats.

(Previously at a press conference in Texas, Goodyear introduced two new premium-priced tires for the SUV and pickup truck segments featuring the company's SilentArmor Technology -- the Goodyear Fortera and the Wrangler. See the item posted on Jan. 27.)

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