As expected, the big three tire makers of the world continued to hold those same spots among North American rubber product makers based on 2015 sales, though all three showed a drop in revenue on the continent last year.
In fact, the top 10 rubber product makers remained the same for 2015, with the top six retaining their positions and a bit of a shuffling among the bottom four members of the group.
Bridgestone Americas Inc. held onto the No. 1 position in Rubber & Plastics News annual ranking of North American rubber goods producers, though its estimated $10.1 billion in sales for the year was 3.7 percent lower than the $10.5 billion it posted in 2014.
That dip in revenue, however, was not caused by lower business levels but by a stronger dollar and continued depreciation of the yen in 2015. RPN uses the average annual currency exchange rate in figuring final revenue data.
Bridgestone reported that its North America tire unit posted steady unit growth in 2015 for passenger and light truck tires, with a strong uptick in truck and bus tire units. According to its annual report, sales in the Americas—which also include its Latin and South American businesses—accounted for 50.6 percent of company revenues last year, up from 47.5 percent in 2014.
Michelin North America Inc. stayed in the No. 2 slot with North American sales of $8.85, down 3.3 percent from its 2014 mark of $9.14 billion, with Goodyear again No. 3 at $7.74 billion last year, off 3.8 percent from the prior year.
Like Bridgestone, Michelin's North American sales were hurt by currency fluctuation. In its annual report, the French tire maker said that sales in North America jumped 17.4 percent in terms of euros, and that the continent's share of its global business rose to 38.1 percent from 35.2 percent in 2014.
Goodyear, despite its lower North American sales in 2015, said its business was strong on the continent, pointing to record segment operating income of $1.11 billion in North America last year.
The next three companies also remained in their positions for the 2015 rankings, with Continental Tire North America again No. 4 at an estimated $4.2 billion, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. next at $2.69 billion and Cooper Standard Automotive Inc. at $1.78 billion.
Continental's figures, which were 8.9 percent higher than 2014, include that of its ContiTech non-tire rubber product business, which got a boost by closing its acquisition of the former Veyance Technologies in January 2015.
Rounding out the top 10 was Toyo Tire (USA) Corp., moving up a spot to No. 7 at $1.78 billion; Yokohama Tire Corp., up one to No. 8 at $1.47 billion; Gates Corp., up a spot to No. 9 at an estimated $1.38 billion; and Parker-Hannifin Corp., down three spots to No. 10 at an estimated $1.14 billion.
Six of the top 10 firms showed sales drops, with the top 10 accounting for a combined $41 billion in North American revenue for 2015, down 2.1 percent from $41.9 billion a year earlier. There were 14 firms that posted $1 billion or more in rubber product sales on the continent, one more than in 2014.
Two showing the most substantial drops were Titan International Inc., with its North American tire sales down an estimated 26.4 percent to $535.8 million, and Fenner Dunlop Americas Inc., off 42.7 percent on the continent to $254.1 million.
The top newcomer to the list was Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc. at No. 12. It became eligible for the rankings when it dissolved its global joint venture agreements with Goodyear and took control of the tire making plant in Tonawanda, N.Y.
Also new to the list were Boge Rubber & Plastics Group at No. 41, Wabtec Corp. at No. 49 and EnPro Industries at No. 50.
One firm likely to join the top 50 next year is Timken Co., based on its purchase of the former Carlisle belting business from Carlstar Group, an operation that posted $150 million in sales for the year ended June 30, 2015. Timken took control of the firm on Sept. 1. Kumho Tire U.S.A Inc. also will become eligible as it opened its first North American product facility in Georgia earlier this year.