FINDLAY, Ohio (April 27, 2011)—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. expects to increase production 10 percent this year to rebuild inventories and restore the company's fill rates for its dealers to more accepted levels, according to CEO Roy Armes.
Cooper officials didn't disclose specifics about the firm's inventories or fill rates during a conference call with financial analysts. However, they stressed the company is making strides in expanding production to rebuild inventories left lean after the nation's financial slowdown in late 2009 and early 2010.
Cooper also indicated it's building inventories ahead of the third quarter, traditionally the industry's busiest when demand can outstrip production capacity, and is investing in its production capacities to support the launch of several new products this year.
Regarding prices, Armes said Cooper expects “raw material costs to remain at elevated levels after the first quarter, but persistent volatility can make it difficult to accurately predict movements in raw material prices.”
Cooper raised prices twice during the first quarter—2.5 percent on Feb. 1 and 8 to 9 percent on March 15—but the company executives declined to say whether more increases are being planned.