Published on August 23, 2013

Global Tire: Bridgestone No. 1; Sumitomo, Hankook go up

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News, Tire

AKRON—Japan's Bridgestone Corp. is the world's No. 1 tire maker for the fifth straight year, according to Rubber & Plastics News' annual ranking of the world's tire manufacturers, outdistancing No. 2 Michelin despite meager growth in 2012.

Bridgestone's estimated tire-manufacturing-related sales of $28.6 billion put the Tokyo-based company more than $2 billion ahead of Michelin and nearly $9.5 billion ahead of No. 3 Goodyear.

The new rankings will appear in the 2013 Global Tire Report, which is contained in the Sept. 9 Rubber & Plastics News.

Further down the list, Japan's Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. slipped past Italy's Pirelli & C. S.p.A. into fifth by a slim margin, $7.76 billion to $7.63 billion, aided by the difference in the dollar/yen and dollar/euro exchange rates throughout 2012.

Sumitomo's sales in yen grew 4.8 percent over 2011 while Pirelli's in euros were up 7.7 percent, but the dollar/euro exchange rate moved nearly 10 percent last year vs. 2011 while the yen/dollar rate was essentially unchanged.

The change restores Sumitomo to the No. 5 ranking it held for several years prior to 2002, when its sales dipped following the sale in 1999 of majority ownership of its Dunlop-related assets in North America and Europe to Goodyear.

Both Sumitomo and Pirelli are pursuing further growth through steady investment and targeted acquisitions/joint ventures.

Sumitomo, for example, recently acquired Dunlop-related assets throughout Africa http://www.rubbernews.com/article/20130529/NEWS/130529942/sumitomo-to-buy-apollo-tire-factory-in-south-africa and is setting up a manufacturing venture in Turkey, http://www.rubbernews.com/article/20120924/NEWS/309249999/sumitomo-partner-to-build-tire-plant-in-turkey while Pirelli is looking to tap into the vast Russian market through a joint venture there. http://www.rubbernews.com/article/20130813/NEWS/130819981/pirelli-increases-share-of-russian-tire-jv

RPN ranks tire makers based on their revenue from the sale of tires, excluding revenue from non-tire products, including auto-service-related revenue at company-owned retail stores, sales of steel cord, synthetic rubber or carbon black to third parties, etc. Bridgestone and Michelin, for example, report millions of dollars in revenue from their respective captive retail networks.

The U.S. dollar-denominated sales figures are based on average annual currency exchange figures, in order to avoid unusually high or low exchange rates at year-end.

South Korea's Hankook Tire Co. Inc. edged past Japan's Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. for the No. 7 spot on the list, $6.26 billion to $5.57 billion. Hankook reported 8.3-percent higher sales in 2012 vs. Yokohama's 0.6-percent drop in revenue.

Hankook, which has long aspired to be among the world's five largest tire makers, has moved from 11th on the global ranking in 2001 to seventh this year.

Continental A.G. retained the No. 4 spot at $10.9 billion, while Taiwan's Maxxis International/Cheng Shin Rubber Co. Ltd. and China's Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. kept their Nos. 9 and 10 rankings with sales of $4.63 billion and $4.56 billion, respectively.

Overall, the estimated value of tire sales worldwide slipped slightly from 2011 to $187.5 billion, putting Bridgestone's share at 15.2 percent, Michelin's at 14 percent and Goodyear's at 10 percent.

Collectively the top 10 tire companies account for nearly 65 percent of the world's tire sales, based on Tire Business' numbers.

There are 32 billion-dollar tire companies in the 2012 rankings and three more companies knocking on the door with sales of $900 million or greater, according to RPN's analysis of the available data.

The Sept. 9 edition of RPN will include all of the regular Global Tire Report features readers have come to expect—the Top 75 Tire Makers' Ranking, comparative earnings, capital and research/development spending tables, summary of global expansion projects, list of tire factories worldwide, etc. — plus market trend stories and the latest industry news.

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