By on February 24, 2021

Goodyear

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has announced that they are acquiring Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, strengthening their position in the market, and expanding the number of brands where the rubber meets the road.

GoodyearAkron, Ohio-based Goodyear, one of the world’s largest tire companies, picked up Cooper, no slouch itself at fifth in size among tire companies. For the foreseeable future, Cooper will remain in Findlay, Ohio, but for how long? Integration is the word of the day, and that means not only combining production here and around the world, but consolidating operations, and with that, customer service.

That last item, customer service, touched a nerve exposed by a call to Xfinity, a Comcast brand, whose support is handled by non-native speakers of a language not recognizable as English. After half an hour of discussing an increase in monthly charges, the agent put me on hold, only to never return. Yes, reduce the number of customer service representatives and watch the time spent waiting to speak to an agent rise. Outsourcing calls to some third-world country will also not win any fans. Isn’t the whole point in brand-building to retain loyal customers, and attract others based on their positive comments?

Goodyear

With all the legal mumbo jumbo about the actual close of the buy-out by Goodyear, it won’t take place until sometime in the second half of 2021, well after the honeymoon is a distant memory. What happens to Goodyear’s value-priced Kelly tires, Fulda, Sava, or even Dunlop? If they’re not familiar to you, then you’re not what the tire companies call a tier 2 or tier 3 buyer. Bargain brands are often sold to warehouses and big box stores, or to mom-and-pop tire shops with one lift if they’re lucky. This allows the latter to be competitive, make a decent margin, and stay in business. Chain stores like Discount Tire or Les Schwab have nice showrooms, clean service bays, and brand-name tires that most consumers are familiar with.

Enthusiasts have to wonder about the fate of  Cooper’s Mickey Thompson and Dick Cepek brands, renown in drag racing and off-road. Goodyear’s own drag racing tires may pose a conflict, just as the Cepek and Mickey Thompson off-road tires are more specialized, niche market products. As with any acquisition, merger, or consolidation, only time will tell, just as Coca-Cola and Pepsi have reduced the number of brands available including Pibb Extra, Tab, Vault, Surge, and Powerade.

[Images: Goodyear, Mickey Thompson]

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48 Comments on “Cooper Go Goes to Goodyear...”


  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    ….Well No Cooper Tires for CaddyDaddy for my new shoes on my Explorer.

    Goodyear’s corporate views on Patriotic Americans… “The employee released a screenshot of a slide that was displayed during diversity training showing what types of political expression is permissible in the workplace. The policy deemed statements promoting Black Lives Matter or “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride,” were acceptable. However, All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, MAGA attire, or other material supporting conservatism were out of bounds.”

    • 0 avatar
      Rboz

      Agree, Cooper has been my go to tire due to their American made product. That just got a whole lot harder.

      • 0 avatar
        Mike Beranek

        Try BF Goodrich. They’ve always been my favorite American tire brand.

        • 0 avatar
          Steve Biro

          BF Goodrich is owned by Michelin of France. But that’s okay. They’re still made here. In fact, that South Carolina plant makes Michelin, BF Goodrich and Uniroyal tires. Except for certain specialty Michelins, the plant supplies North America for all of Michelin’s brands.

          Another American brand I can recommend is General – owned by Continental of Germany. But still made here. And still good. Need a solid all-season tire for your car or CUV? The General Altimax RT43. Only a year or so ago, they could be had for under $100 each. But word has been getting out about them and the price is a bit higher now.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            Agree on the Altimax RT43s. I have those on several of my cars. They grip very well in dry, wet and corners. You can get very good deals on them on Ebay and Tire Rack, among others.
            Also love Continentals for my Volvo. They wear out pretty quickly, but the handling is very much improved.
            I have a friend who used to work for Goodyear. He did not use Goodyear tires on his car. Hmmm…

          • 0 avatar
            eng_alvarado90

            Well, the first experience I recall with Cooper tires was about 20 years ago when my dad replaced the BFG Radial T/As on his Ranger with a set from Cooper. The BFGs were fantastic but the Coopers were about half the price back then and they were still on when my dad sold the truck 5 years after installation (he averaged about 10K miles/year).
            Today Cooper is not the same bargain anymore (in fact I installed Coopers on my truck and they were only about 20% cheaper than the BFGs), but I think there’s still reason to pick them up over a BIG NAME tire brand. If the quality ever goes downhill or the price gets on par with those, then I’m out.

      • 0 avatar
        eng_alvarado90

        Cooper is currently my tire choice on one of my vehicles (the other one has BFGs). I can’t see how this acquisition will make Cooper tires better value than they are now. Maybe it’s time to switch brands, although I must say my Discoverer AT3 4S are holding up great so it’ll take a while.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      https://www.cleveland.com/news/2020/08/goodyear-amends-policy-against-political-attire-to-allow-employees-to-show-support-for-law-enforcement.html

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Given what happened at The Capitol on January 6th, asking employees to leave the MAGA stuff at home looks like a good decision.

      MAGA isn’t just a political opinion, it brings a lot of baggage into the conversation — even if that baggage doesn’t apply to you personally.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        You don’t get to be above the baggage of politics in rejecting one political movement when you’re simultaneously explicitly endorsing another. BLM’s arson, looting, and occasionally shooting police officers had been going on all summer. Goodyear was fine with that.

        And I’m fine with the baggage of never buying their tires again.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          The BLM folks just want to stop the police from killing their friends and family.

          Citizens of a civilized nation can and should demand that from their government.

          • 0 avatar
            C5 is Alive

            Above all, citizens of a civilized nation prefer order to chaos. The BLM folks would do well to stop venerating criminals and destroying cities in their name.

    • 0 avatar
      Cicero

      Yeah, I try to make it a point not to buy from companies that hate me too. The list gets longer all the time.

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      CaddyDaddy,

      “The policy deemed statements…”

      In short, the usual biased junk.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        The DC riots were an ANTIFA Lead operation with some normal people being ginned up to walk around inside the Capitol. ANTIFA DID THE SMASHING AND BASHING. All the bashers were late 20 s early 30 s with beards and cool clothes. NEVER SAW ANY OF THESE AT A TRUMP RALLY.
        NOT
        ONE
        TIME HARD STOP.

        Pelosi know trouble was in the wind. But requests for police overtime – denied. Requests for national guard – denied. Request for hardened tall fence installation – denied. Letting the riot proceed helps the Democrat – marxist cause.

        Police killing blacks.
        When you fight and assault officer during his encounter with you, he must respond. You ARE going to do what he wants eventually. ‘Bad shoots” are proven very rarely. 1% of the time.
        Stop saying the exception is the rule or the normal state of things.

        BAD SHOOTINGS ARE EXTREMELY RARE. How do you not get shot?
        DO WHAT THE OFFICERS SAYS. Especially if you are doing a crime. (Cop has made up his mind you ARE GOING TO JAIL)

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Jason brings up a good point about the lower tier brands. I’ve had several sets of Kelly Chargers on my cars over the years and they have performed rather well. They’re the only Goodyear-produced tires I will buy.

    I suspect that the lower tier brands may survive, if you look at any Discount Tire offering, they’re showing brands from tire makers that I’ve never heard of before. With having family & friends in the tire business, I thought I’d seen them all!

  • avatar
    Funky D

    Politics aside, in my experience, unless it says “Eagle” somewhere on it, Goodyear tires are pretty much junk. I would hate to see them drag down a decent company like Cooper with them.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      I’ve found that it’s not just the Eagles that are worth buying. Just buy the flagship tire in any of Goodyear’s various product categories: ultra-high performance, all-season, off-road, etc. In each category, the top Goodyear tire can compete with the best of any brand. Go lower and all bets are off.

      I’m not thrilled about this purchase but I am glad Cooper is staying American. Meanwhile… does Cooper still own Avon Tyres of the U.K.? If so, will Goodyear get them?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I got some decent tire life out of a set of Duratracs. They were great in mud and worked reasonably well on icy roads.

  • avatar
    here4aSammich

    I feel bad for the people in Findlay. Sooner, rather than later, Goodyear will consolidate everything they can at the new, tax incentive subsidized, headquarters they recently built on the east side of Akron. Findlay has Cooper and Marathon headquarters there. That’s a lot of good jobs. The town itself will take a hit.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      An excellent point. Over 150 years ago Marx predicted that unchecked capitalism would actually lead to a reduction in competition. We are witnessing the trend to an oligopoly of a few large global corporations dominating their markets. And forcing nations to compete for the available jobs. His answers were all wrong. But he was the first to ask the right questions.

      • 0 avatar
        spookiness

        It’s a rich man’s game, not matter what they call it. And you spend your life putting money in his wallet.
        Dolly said it better.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Monopolies are becoming a major problem. Since the word monopoly scares people the corporate suits have rebranded it as Market Consolidation. They broke up Ma Bell but it’s come roaring back. The sales pitch is this will make things better for the consumer because economies of scale will lower prices, but the opposite occurs, the lack of competition drives consumer prices up and eliminates jobs.

        Turns out the best way to bet your competitor is to just buy or acquire them, then you can control a larger slice of the market allowing you to discontinue niche or poor margin products and then raise prices on the profitable stuff. This guy writes a newsletter about it: https://mattstoller.substack.com/welcome

      • 0 avatar
        CaddyDaddy

        …. “unchecked capitalism would actually lead to a reduction in competition.” Yes only a planned centrally controlled marketplace can yield competition. In fact, every time in our business we have attempted to break into a mature and fixed market it was always .gov with onerous regulations and unmotivated bureaucrats that prevented entry. Please see Amazon’s cozy relationship being the US Govt. #1 server provider and subsidised postal rates.

        Helps to own the Local Newspaper which has files of dirt on every politician.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          No, Marx was not saying a centrally controlled market would yield competition. In fact, competition would be irrelevant in a communist system. Marx was saying that in an uncontrolled capitalist system, competition ends up stifled. And he was right. Why? Because the established players simply use their size to lock competitors out, or they pay off the government to do it for them.

          History bears this out. Take a look at the late 19th century – the last time we had anything close to unfettered capitalism – and tell me that wasn’t the case. Trusts, monopolies, you name it…it was impossible for new entrants into established industries to compete. And blatant payola was RAMPANT. Read a history of Ulysses Grant’s administration sometime – he made Agnew look like a saint.

          (Far as Amazon is concerned…1) without them, the post office would probably be broke, so yeah, they get a deal, and 2) they got as big as they did by providing a service and executing that service well. Market in action.)

    • 0 avatar
      FGY

      I don’t think the plant will stay in Findlay long term under Goodyear’s control. Executives want to move Marathon to Texas and that will probably happen in the next 10 years. This was never a problem for either company when the CEO was an internal hire.

      The last two CEO’s of Cooper have been trying to sell the company and this one succeeded. It only fell through lasted time because the Chinese locked Apollo out. If Marathon leaves, Findlay is going to turn into little Toledo real quick. It’s maybe the only bright spot in Northwest Ohio.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      ^ This!

      Findlay is a nice little town, and I’ll hate to see it go Dow the tubes when, not if, the headquarters is gutted.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Firestone Firehawk Indy 500’s have been my go to for a summer tire on stuff I actually put miles on. I only bring it up because they typically are replacing some Goodyear tire that came on the car that was loud and wore more rapidly than it should have, but was overpriced come replacement time.

    Cooper has been my go to for truck tires and whatever sled my wife had. They just sort of do what they are supposed to, are priced reasonably and of course, US made. I hope this doesn’t change.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      Exact same- went from GY Eagle F1 summers that only lasted 12-15kish miles to Indy 500s. Maybe at a racetrack the GY would be better but for ‘spirited’ summer driving the Indy’s seem completely competitive and I got better 1/4 times to boot.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      +2, Art & MrIcky. Most of my driving is on Cooper-shod vehicles. The extenuating circumstance is that a family friend runs an indie garage/tire shop, and he has some sort of affiliation with Cooper. But the tires have been satisfactory in my experience.

      And +1 to the sentiment expressed in other comments that currently the pendulum is too far to the side of monopolies/consolidation. It’s definitely the case in my industry, to the detriment of everyone except a tiny handful of executives.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    Anytime I’ve looked to buy a Cooper, they were Made in China.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Cooper has a small factory in Texarkana but they make commercial truck tires mostly. Been there a long time.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I will not buy any Goodyear tires unless there are no other brands that are available for my vehicles. I had little or no choice on my S-10 and Isuzu but on my Ranger I bought Hanooks. Decades ago Goodyear made excellent tires but in recent years their tires are junk.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    My current non-winter tires for my Highlander are Coopers, installed by the previous owner. They have worn very well but they are noisy and too rough for their low level of grip. (My Blizzak winter tires are a lot quieter!) I’ve had Continentals and Michelins on other cars recently and much preferred both, and I’ll buy a set of Michelins for the Highlander within a couple years. This seems like one mediocre tire brand buying another.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I be never had a *bad* experience with Michelin tires but I’ve never had a great experience either despite their sterling internet reputation.

      I’ve pretty much burned off my factory set of Michelins. It’s hard for me to justify a set of 4S replacements compared to the Firehawks (I put those on my Charger) at $400 less.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I’ve now had from Michelin:

        – Two sets of Energy Saver A/S (OEM tires on both C-Max and Bolt) – these wear well and are quiet but have a very hard compound with the expected impact on grip and ride. Mediocre.
        – One set of Pilot Sport A/S 3 (LS460) and one of A/S 3+ (Legend) – both of these were/are absolutely outstanding. The 16″ A/S 3+ transformed the Legend, which had been on crap 15″ tires since I bought it. Summer-like grip, good wet traction, nice ride. They don’t wear great but I don’t drive enough to care.
        – One set of Latitude Tour HP (LX570) – these were very good although not in tune with the vehicle’s character. Quiet and comfortable, with pretty decent street grip for a passenger tire on a tall three-ton truck, dry and wet.
        – One set of previous-generation Primacy MXM4 (OEM tires on TSX) – these rode and wore well, and were quiet, but were quite short on grip for such a nice-handling car.

        Worth noting is that the quality has been very consistent. I’ve never once had a Michelin that was out of round or wouldn’t balance right.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I’ve had about as many Michelin sets as you. Like I said I’ve never had a *bad* experience but I’ve also never had a $100/tire better experience with them compared to Firestone or Yokohama.

          Ironically the worst tires I’ve had were Goodyears.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            My last set of Goodyears were the execrable RS-As that came on my G8 GXP. Pure junk. They literally did nothing well. I know there are other Goodyears that have done better in testing but those pretty much soured me on the brand. I eventually put Continentals on the car, shortly before I sold it, and I should have done that years earlier.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    For the last couple Accord generations, Honda has specced Michelin and Goodyear tires, and it just happened to be the luck of the draw as to what was on your car. Fortunately, all four of my Accords, including the last two, have been shod with Michelins, and the replacements were also Michelins. Most of the time, the Michelins rank higher than the Goodyears, whether on TireRack, Consumer Reports, or other.

  • avatar
    Old_WRX

    Interesting, the Goodyear blimp in the picture isn’t actually a blimp. It’s one of ZEPPELIN LUFTSCHIFFTECHNIK’s semi-rigid airships. You can tell by the side and aft mounted vectored propulsion units.

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    I’ve experienced the acquisition of an another company, and those “synergies” mentioned in press releases are mostly focused on back office operations.

    Payroll, A/P, General Ledger, accounting, finance, legal, purchasing, HR, customer phone support, etc., etc., are consolidated to one location. The winner is not always who acquired who; I’ve seen it based on who had the superior software package supporting the function in question such as Payroll + HR + Benefits + Electronic Time Sheets riding on one single software platform as opposed to riding on 3 or 4 separate programs. Teams are organized to move important data from one software platform to the surviving platform. Once this is accomplished, “early out” programs are dangled. Those that remain are given an ultimatum of accepting a job 200 to 500 miles away from their current location or terminated with less generous severance packages. All of the above is completed within twelve months with a sense of urgency. Usually, IT support is already outsourced, but that vendor will jockey to obtain both sides of the deal.

    The operational functionals (design, manufacturing, distribution, etc) are handled with a fine tooth comb. Plants are scrubbed for duplications and overlapping products. Plant managers may be moved around to groom them for future promotions. Design is usually consolidated, but I’ve also seen where production site support folks keep their jobs (If the plants are not producing, there is no product to sell). Distribution is a delicate subject. Don’t want to upset your jobbers, vendors, or big block customers. Field managers are given a pre-prepared script to read from and directed to wine, dine, and smoke a peace pipe with customers to keep them in the fold. Better to hear it from a familiar face than to read about it in an “inflammatory” news report.

    Duplicates in the C-Suite are usually provided with Golden or Silver parachutes based on their level of responsibility. Any outstanding stock options are used as leverage to keep those exiting from taking jobs with competitors or to just keep quiet. One CEO is usually kicked up to Chairman of the Board while the other CEO keeps his job with the whole shebang under his control.

    Five to six years later, the hysteria of another consolidation takes place and all are jockeying for new positions again.

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