CLERMONT-FERRAND, France (Oct. 26)—Steady growth in North America led the way as Groupe Michelin reported a 16.2-percent jump in sales in the third quarter to $3.69 billion, and a 14.6-percent rise for the nine months to $10.6 billion. Tonnage volume was up 6.6 percent for the nine months, and currency fluctuations accounted for nearly half of the sales growth, Michelin said. In North America, the company´s sales of 4x4/light truck tires—impacted by the Firestone recall—jumped 27.1-percent vs. market growth of 16.8 percent. Sales of speed-rated high-performance tires were up 17.4 percent vs. the market rise of 9.9 percent, Michelin said. But original equipment sales of truck tires fell 29 percent during the third quarter and are expected to drop further in the fourth period. Despite rising prices and uncertain outlooks in some markets, Michelin still expects year-end operating earnings to fall within a range of 7.3 to 9 percent of sales—on par with the firm´s half-year projection.