By: N.A. on January 1, 2002
Original Article: TIRE BUSINESS, VOL. 19, ISSUE 20

November shipments off 6%
AKRON—Industrywide shipments of replacement consumer and commercial truck tires fell 6 percent from year-ago levels, Goodyear said in its monthly report to investors. The company acknowledged that its own tire shipments were down even more.

The tire maker said that while Goodyear brand shipments fared better than those of the industry at large, its total unit shipments for the month failed to keep pace. The company said it shipped about 200,000 tires in November as part of Ford Motor Co.’s replacement program for Firestone Wilderness AT tires.

Industry shipments to original equipment customers declined 5 percent in November from year-ago levels for consumer tires and were down 32 percent for commercial tires, the report said.

Meanwhile, Goodyear said it made substantial production cutbacks during November and expects more of the same in December due to continued weak OE and replacement tire markets.

Smar Tire loses $1.6 million
RICHMOND, British Columbia—Tire pressure monitoring system developer SmarTire Systems Inc. suffered a net loss of $1.6 million in its fiscal first quarter ended Oct. 31 despite nearly doubling sales, to $352,629. The first quarter loss was slightly larger than that reported a year earlier, the company said.

The sales increase reflects a “moderate increase” in the firm’s passenger car aftermarket business and a “new commitment to mass market opportunities” in original equipment accounts, said Robert Rudman, president and CEO, who said SmarTire made “significant progress” with potential OE accounts.

New tire safety laws in the U.S. that make tire pressure monitoring systems mandatory by 2003 have created a surge in demand for tire monitoring technology, Mr. Rudman said.

Pep Boys shifts private brand biz
PHilADELPHIA—Automotive service chain Pep Boys—Manny, Moe & Jack is shifting nearly 100 percent of its private-brand fire business to Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., which currently makes about 60 percent of the firm’s tires.

The deal will mean the loss of about $100 million in business for Bridgestone/Firestone, which along with Cooper makes Pep Boys’ Futura tires, according to Tire Business research.

Bridgestone/Firestone and Pep Boys “mutually decided to discontinue business” during the first half of 2002, said Mike Cerio, BFS executive director, North American Consumer Tire corporate accounts, who also said the company “would welcome the opportunity to work with them again in the future.”

The sale of Cornell and Futura brand tires represented 17 percent of Pep Boys revenues, or $333 million in fiscal 2000. Pep Boys operates more than 620 stores in 37 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

Pirelli, Saleen renew racing pact
LAS VEGAS—Pirelli Tires has renewed its tire and marketing relationship with high-performance vehicle manufacturer Saleen/Allen Speedlab for the 2002 American Le Mans Series, the tire maker said.

Pirelli had helped Saleen win the Triple Crown of the inaugural Grand-Am racing season, but chose not to compete in 2000 to focus on improving its racing products.

Under the renewed deal, Pirelli will offer its latest P Zero racing slicks to Saleen’s S7R supercar customer teams as well as other GTS and GT cars in the ALMS and the FIA GT.