SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 18, 2010)—Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc., Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. and Yokohama Tire Corp. have agreed to settle all claims regarding Toyo's lawsuit filed a year ago against its partners in the GTY Tire Co. joint truck tire venture.
The settlement calls for Toyo to withdraw from the joint venture formed in 1988. Continental and Yokohama have agreed to produce “a certain quantity of truck and bus radial tires” for Toyo at GTY's Mount Vernon, Ill., plant and Toyo may purchase tires from GTY monthly for about a year, according to the agreement. Toyo declined to release further details.
Toyo filed suit Jan. 11, 2010, against Continental and Yokohama after the two GTY partners shut off Toyo's supply of truck tires from the factory and terminated Toyo's status as a joint venture partner. Conti and Yokohama claimed Toyo Tire's parent company, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd., is involved in a technology exchange with Bridgestone Corp., a major competitor, which they considered grounds for terminating Toyo's participation in the GTY venture.
Toyo Tire and Bridgestone disclosed in 2008 they were exploring a technology and production cooperation agreement, but Toyo argued in court briefs this involved the firms' Japanese parent companies and focused on consumer tires, not commercial tires.
In July, the District Court for the Central District of California ordered Conti and Yokohama to comply with the GTY partnership agreement by providing Toyo with its allocation of the truck and bus radial tires from the joint venture plant.
Toyo anticipated sourcing up to 290,000 tires from GTY in 2010—a total that represented more than 60 percent of the firm's annual truck tire sales in North America, according to testimony in Toyo's lawsuit.
Conti has a 51-percent ownership stake in GTY, Yokohama owns a third and Toyo owned 16 percent, according to company records.