Tire Makers Not Having a Good Year

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

In the car biz, tire makers are something of a canary in the coal mine. And they're coughing like crazy. As America's car market falters, tire manufacturers are facing some plenty tough choices, as they try to manage rising prices and falling demand. Goodyear, America's largest tire company, is seeking relief abroad. Trading Markets reports that they're focusing on growth in foreign markets like Russia, China and Brazil, investing $500m in Chinese production and $600m on plants in Brazil and Chile. Goodyear hopes the investment will pay off with over $2b in savings by 2009. Some of those savings will come from plant closures (e.g. Australia) and longer-than-usual summer production lulls at plants worldwide. Meanwhile and in any case, most tire makers are increasing their prices. Bridgestone, Goodyear, Hankook, Yokohama, Michelin and Continental have all announced some kind of price increase this month alone.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Jeff Puthuff Jeff Puthuff on Jun 27, 2008

    I have a cheap ($65/ea) set of Kumho's on my Infiniti and except for their embarrassing name, they've been flawless, [s]knock on wood[/s]. They've gotten me through a wind and ice storm in Wyoming and have seen 120 mph a few times. I'm not aware of any independent organization that tests only tires and publishes the results for the public. At what price is a tire just a tire? Or, is a $100 tire that much better than a $65 tire?

  • Qusus Qusus on Jun 27, 2008

    Theres plenty of independent testing on tires. Consumer Reports is a popular one. Tires make a tremendous difference,- they're the only part of the car that actually touches the road. Unfortunately, high performance summer tires are more costly and have considerably shorter life and can be noisy as well... but are entirely worthwhile if you track your car or drive aggressively. Like all consumer products, not all 100 dollar tires are better than all 65 dollar tires but certainly the quality and performance of tires varies greatly as a whole.

  • B.C. B.C. on Jun 27, 2008

    TEXN3, Bridgestones are pretty pricey wherever I've looked. Did you mean Firestones instead? (And yes, I'm aware they're the same company.)

  • IDANECK IDANECK on Jun 28, 2008

    No, I meant Bridgestone. Seems they're always running deals on them at the local Commercial Tire.