More tires, investment for Hercules in 2009

Nov. 12, 2008

This year has been a good one for Hercules Tire & Rubber Co., says Hercules CEO and President Larry Seawell. However, he has no illusions about what 2009 will bring.

In an exclusive interview with at last week's Specialty Equipment Market Association Show, Seawell said the first half of 2009 "will be very difficult. Everybody has a lot of inventory. I think there will be a sorting out" as tire prices settle at lower levels.

On the bright side, pent-up demand will eventually loosen, leading to an increase in replacement tire sales. "People are keeping their cars longer."

Despite the challenging economy, Hercules is moving forward on a number of fronts. "We'll be introducing more new products in 2009 than any other year in the history of the company," Seawell revealed. "We want to continue to be a better supplier.

"The other big initiative is our international sales front." Hercules recently opened offices in Singapore, Dubai and Barcelona, Spain.

At the same time, the Findlay, Ohio-based company will continue to invest $4 million to $5 million a year in molds "to support our product platform."

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