AKRON (Aug. 30)—Bridgestone Corp. has supplanted Michelin as the world's largest tire maker, based on its own double-digit sales growth last year and a shift in currency values,
The Japanese company ended a four-year run by France's Michelin as the world's No. 1 tire manufacturer, based on 2005 sales, in the Rubber & Plastics News' 2006 Global Tire Company Rankings. Goodyear ranked No. 3.
Bridgestone's move was aided by an 11.6-percent gain in tire division sales over 2005 vs. Michelin's 3.6-percent improvement. Bridgestone also benefited slightly from a change in the yen/dollar exchange rate, while the euro/dollar rate was unchanged from 2004 to 2005.
The company's position is further solidified by its ownership stake in BRISA/Bridgestone-Sabanci Tire Mfg. in Turkey, which posted sales of $432.2 million.
Based on fiscal 2005 results, Bridgestone had estimated tire-related sales of $18.3 billion, vs. Michelin's $17.9 billion and Goodyear's $17.5 billion.
Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. surged ahead of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Kumho Tire Co. Inc. moved ahead of Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. into the Nos. 8 and 10 spots.