• The economy and U.S. rubber industry were in a downturn, but the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks make things worse. After that event, plants close, companies lay off workers and some companies file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as they deal with rising costs and falling revenue.
• The Bridgestone/Firestone recall boosts production throughout the tire industry, but shipments slide in nearly every category.
• Tire industry layoffs include: Goodyear (7,200), Michelin (2,000) and Pirelli North America (650).
• Pirelli closes its only U.S. plant, but starts construction on a plant in Rome, Ga.
• Bridgestone/Firestone closes truck tire plant in Decatur, Ill., the site of production for the recalled tires. In all, 1,800 lose jobs.
• Other companies closing plants are: Federal-Mogul, LaCrosse Footwear Inc., Bayer Corp., RBX Corp., Ansell Healthcare, Eagle Elastomers Inc., Gates Rubber and Chardon Rubber Co.
• Federal-Mogul and RBX enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection.
• The longest strike in rubber industry history—3 ½ years—ends Sept. 26 at Titan's Des Moines, Iowa, farm tire plant.
• Mark IV divests its Dayco Industrial Division.
• The Transportation Recall Efficiency, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act comes to fruition and requires auto makers to adopt tire pressure monitoring devices. It also mandates an "early warning" system for tire problems.
• Raw material cost volatility becomes a problem throughout the industry. SBR prices rise six times and carbon black prices also rise.
• An explosion and fire at Rouse Polymers International Inc. in Vicksburg, Miss., kills five and injures seven. The event leads to fines and lawsuits.
• Goodyear's stock prices fall. Samir Gibara steps down as CEO and Robert J. Keegan takes over.
• Rubber chemical and carbon black producers in the U.S. and Europe are investigated for price fixing.
• At least 14 rubber chemical suppliers, four EPDM producers and three carbon black companies face lawsuits following a price-fixing investigation.
• Bayer A.G. spins off rubber and chemical businesses that later becomes Lanxess A.G.
• International Specialty Products Inc. buys flailing SBR producer Ameripol Synpol.
• PolyOne looks to sell its elastomers and performance additives business.
• Goodyear Chemical goes up for sale, and the company admits to overstating earnings, leading to lawsuits from shareholders.
• The Goodyear blimp "Spirit of America" crashes in California.
• An explosion rocks West Co.'s facility in Kinston, N.C., killing six and injuring 38. Authorities ruled the event an accident.
• Investigations into price fixing continue with big-name companies such as Crompton Corp., Bayer, Degussa, DuPont Dow Elastomers L.L.C. and Polimeri Europe facing allegations.
• Oil prices soar to $55 a barrel, leading to price increases between 25 and 45 percent from suppliers of oil-based materials.
• Cooper Tire sources 1 million tires a year from China, while Cooper-Standard built an NVH plant there.
• GenCorp sells GDX Automotive business.