Here’s a little history lesson for the young people. Bridgestone Corp. was not always the largest tire company in the world. The acquisition of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in 1988 helped make it the largest.
An unexpected surge in domestic truck tire demand in the second half led to a record number of replacement truck tire shipments in 2017. Unable to produce enough tires to meet the demand, Tier 1 and Tier 2 manufacturers lost market share versus 2016.
Modern Tire Dealer and tire industry analyst Nick Mitchell have independently reached the same conclusion: Tier 2 and Tier 3 brands outperformed Tier 1 brands through the first 10 months of the year based on unit growth.
Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC (BSRO) is looking to more than double its share of the $10 billion-plus market of providing service and tires to passenger and light truck fleets across the country. If all goes well, the company-owned stores will accomplish that goal by 2020.
Tracking high and ultra-high performance shipments is not as easy as it once was. Fifteen years ago, the definitions were clear: High performance referred to H-rated tires 70-series and under. UHP tires were anything V- and Z-rated. And UHP tires were a niche market, a sub-segment of the high performance category.