The top five rubber product companies in North America stayed the same for 2014, but the top three all had lower sales on the continent than the year before.
Bridgestone Americas Inc. retained the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive year, posting an estimated $10.5 billion in rubber product sales in North America. The Nashville, Tenn.-based subsidiary of Japan's Bridgestone Corp., however, was hurt by the rapid depreciation of the yen during 2014.
When figured in yen, Bridgestone's sales for the Americas actually increased 7 percent during the year. Rubber & Plastics News, however, uses the average annual currency exchange rate in figuring final revenue data.
In its annual report, Bridgestone reported steady growth in unit sales for passenger and light truck tires in North America, as well as strong gains for truck and bus tires. Besides tires, the firm also derives rubber product sales from such items as rubber roofing, air springs and golf balls, among others.
Michelin North America Inc. remained in the second position with North American sales of $9.14 billion, a 2.1 percent decline from 2013, according to data from the annual report of its French parent company. The tire maker said in a statement at the time of its annual results release that the lower revenue in the region reflected “targeted price adjustments.”
The company described the North American consumer original market as “buoyant,” with demand rising 5 percent over 2013, while the replacement market grew 6 percent. Michelin looked for North American tire demand to remain strong in 2015.
Goodyear remained at No. 3 with North American sales dropping 6.9 percent in 2014 to $8.09 billion, according to figures provided by the company. Unit demand declined 1 percent to 61.1 million, the company said.
Continental A.G. and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. rounded out the unchanged top five in the rankings, but both saw sales grow during 2014.
Revenue in North America for Conti—reflecting sales of both tires and its ContiTech business—gained 7.4 percent to $3.85 billion. That total likely will grow by $1 billion or so for 2015, as it completed its acquisition of Veyance Technologies earlier this year, and its sales will be included with ContiTech effective Feb. 1. Veyance—the former Goodyear Engineered Products business—ranked No. 13 for 2014, with North American sales of about $1.1 billion.
Cooper saw its North American sales rise 4.2 percent last year, totaling $2.59 billion. The Findlay, Ohio-based tire maker saw its financial fortunes rebound last year after suffering an impact the prior year from the failed deal between it and Apollo Tyres Ltd.
Cooper Standard Automotive and Parker-Hannifin Corp. each moved up two slots, with Cooper Standard No. 6 at $1.69 billion and Parker No. 7 at an estimated $1.58 billion.
Three newcomers to the top 10 follow, with Toyo Tire (USA) Corp. No. 8 at $1.51 billion, Yokohama Tire Corp. No. 9 at $1.5 billion and Gates Corp.—now owned by Blackstone Group L.P.—at No. 10 with an estimated $1.43 billion.
North American rubber product sales for the top 10 companies were an aggregate $41.9 billion, and 13 companies posted at least $1 billion in sales on the continent, down from 16 a year ago.
Carlisle Companies Inc. and Titan International Inc. were two of the firms that dropped from the billion dollar club, but for different reasons. Carlisle sold off its Transportation Products division at the end of 2013, and the resulting firm—Carlstar Group—ranked No. 24 for the year at an estimated $560 million.
Titan, on the other hand, saw its North American tire sales fall nearly 30 percent to $728 million, as its overall corporate sales declined 12.4 percent on the year.
AirBoss of America Corp. joined this year's ranking at No. 41, as the acquisition of Flexible Products Co. helped the firm—also a major rubber compounder—see its rubber products sales in North America more than double to $164.2 million.
Minnesota Rubber & Plastics rejoined the top 50 at No. 47 with $127 million.
Just falling short were Wabtec Corp. with an estimated $100 million after purchasing Longwood Industries, Elring Klinger North America Inc. at $99.5 million and BRC Rubber & Plastics Inc., at $91.1 million.