But there is an upside.
Titan has an optimization plan—put together by President Paul Reitz and Chief Financial Officer John Hrudicka—aimed at keeping the company moving forward during a difficult period. Taylor said it's a good plan and should go a long way toward helping right the Titan ship.
Starting in late April, Reitz and Hrudicka visited all Titan operations to develop the plan. Reitz focused on increasing the firm's operating margin, improve product quality and delivery, while Hrudicka concentrated on finding ways to drive optimization throughout the company.
According to Taylor, the sectors Titan serves—other than mining—will begin to improve in the third and fourth quarters “unless the politicians in Washington toss another monkey wrench into it.”
Mining eventually will turn around in the U.S., he said, but it may take a long time for that to happen, and likely not in 2014. The same holds true for Australia and Chili, where mining currently is in a slump. China needs coal and is building coal plants, so that's a possible area of growth, he said.
“We're dealing with a lot of unknowns right now,” he said.
But Taylor does see great growth potential within the company, principally because of new products and the acquisitions Titan made in 2012 and 2013, which should show positive results for the firm in 2014.
The company also is looking to penetrate a niche specialty tire and wheel market in the construction and mining sectors, which Taylor said could generate additional revenue of between $200 million and $400 million. The extra capital investment to accomplish this is substantially complete, he said.
Titan has other new products—including LSW tires and wheels—that have demonstrated they are an improvement over the competition, he said. Many are beginning to penetrate the North American market, and the company intends to soon begin marketing some of them in Europe and Russia.