With a few notable exceptions, fiscal 2019 was a flat to down year for most of the world's leading tire makers.
One of those exceptions, however, was Michelin, which saw sales improve by nearly 10 percent, helping push the French company to the top rung of Rubber & Plastics News' annual ranking of tire makers, ending Bridgestone Corp.'s run of 11 straight years as No. 1.
Michelin's sales jump was aided measurably by a pair of acquisitions—the $1.45 billion buyout of off-road tire specialist Camso in mid-2018 and the $545 million takeover of Indonesian tire maker P.T. Multistrada Arah Sarana TBK in early 2019.
Rubber & Plastics News calculates Michelin's tire manufacturing-related revenue in 2019 at $25 billion, sufficient to edge past Bridgestone, which is a solid No. 2 at $24.3 billion.
For the annual Top 75 Ranking, Rubber & Plastics News rates the tire makers on their revenue from the sale of tires they've manufactured in order to achieve a more equitable "apples-to-apples" comparison.
Excluded are items such as third-party sales of steel cord, synthetic rubber or carbon black, as well as estimates for non-tire items such as auto-service-related revenue at company-owned retail stores.
Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear and Continental, for example, report hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars in revenue from their respective captive retail networks, which generate measurable shares of their revenue from automotive-service-related activities and sales of tire brands other than their own.
Michelin said in 2018 that combining the Camso business with its own OTR tire assets would create an "OTR mobility solutions" business with 26 plants, roughly 12,000 employees and annual sales exceeding $2 billion.
Bridgestone noted in its annual report that it experienced lower sales in 2019 in all of its major regional markets in both its consumer and commercial tire segments, while business in specialty tires was on par with fiscal 2018.
In its annual report, Michelin attributed its increased sales to the consolidation of the Camso and Multistrada acquisitions as well as to improved price/mix and favorable currency-exchange factors. Tire volumes actually decreased.