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Michelin says plants are running at full bore

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Michelin says plants are running at full bore

Michelin North America Inc.'s (MNA) North American plants are running at full throttle, Scott Clark, COO of Michelin's TCAR unit, recently told dealers.

"We're seeing a much-needed rebound" in tire demand, Clark said during last week's Michelin Alliance Associate Dealer (AAD) meeting in Greenville, S.C.

"The U.S. market is up around 8% in terms of sell-in. The original equipment market is up about 70% this year. The magnitude of the rebound has challenged us from a supply standpoint."

In particular, MNA is focusing on production of Michelin brand tires. Several BFGoodrich brand tire manufacturing plants, which have never built Michelin brand products, are now producing the company's flag brand, according to company officials. This has moved some BFGoodrich production to MNA's Uniroyal brand plants.

The pick-up of Michelin production at BFGoodrich plants "has cannibalized a bit of our BFGoodrich capacity," Bruce Brackett, Michelin vice president of sales, told, after the AAD meeting. "So the plants that make Uniroyal have stepped up to make more BFGoodrich."

MNA officials added that the company is importing more Michelin brand tires, as well.

Brackett delineated the respective roles of the Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal brands during his conversation with "Michelin and BFGoodrich are consumer pull brands, so clearly we want to make sure we're supporting that demand. Uniroyal is something we offer to round out that tier three portfolio."

He also addressed the status of MNA's Riken associate brand. "We still have (Riken) for dealers who need it to complete their portfolio, but it's not something we're pushing very hard. It's really produced on demand."

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