AKRON—This is the moment that Goodyear has been preparing for: The future mobility moment.
Electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles—they're here, and Goodyear has worked to position itself as a leader in a new mobility ecosystem.
"At Goodyear, we have proactively embraced this change, leaning forward and adapting our business in meaningful ways," said Richard Kramer, Goodyear chairman, CEO and president.
Today, Goodyear feels even better about its position within the tire industry and remains confident in its ability to adapt, not only to a new mobility landscape, but in offering more sustainable tire products. That's because the Akron-based tire maker is poised to purchase Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. The $2.5 billion deal not only would expand Goodyear's global presence, it would boost the tire makers' expertise in areas of sustainability and new mobility.
"We believe that bringing the two companies together will make us a stronger, more competitive force in the industry, which is challenging," Cooper Tire CEO Brad Hughes said. "It's a global industry with a lot of competition and a lot of new technology coming to the market."
Getting the newest, most sustainable tire technology to the market is only part of the equation, according to both Kramer and Hughes. The key, they said, is doing it quickly.
"It's not even that (new mobility) is on the horizon," Kramer said, "but it is right in front of us, and it's gaining speed."
Last year was a landmark one for electric vehicles. According to data from the Center for Automotive Research, EVs were the best performing segment of 2020. While overall vehicle sales dropped about 17 percent, EVs fell only 4.8 percent in a challenging year that also saw low gas and oil prices, factors that typically hurt EV sales.
Now, more auto makers are poised to bring electrified models to the market, and they're investing heavily in the technology, especially for the light vehicle market. General Motors Co. has pledged that all of its light vehicles will have electric powertrains by 2035. Ford Motor Co. aims to do the same in Europe by 2030.