AKRON (Aug. 27)—France's Groupe Michelin retained the title of No. 1 tire maker for 2002 ahead of Japan's Bridgestone Corp. and Goodyear of the U.S., based on a comparison of the company's tire-specific sales. Both Michelin and Bridgestone posted slight gains in tire sales last year, to $13.8 billion and $13.5 billion, respectively. Michelin benefited from a change in the euro/dollar exchange rate; sales volume rose 3.5 percent, but revenues in euros fell 0.8 percent from 2001. Goodyear's tire sales slipped slightly to $12.3 billion, largely on sales losses in North America. The Big Three tire makers controlled 56 percent of the global tire market, estimated by Rubber & Plastics News for the 2003 Global Tire Report at $70.6 billion last year. Continental A.G., Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., Pirelli S.p.A., Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. were fourth through eighth as in 2001. South Korean tire maker Kumho Industrial Co. Ltd. claimed ninth ahead of Japan's Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd., despite a 2-percent sales gain by Toyo.