The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't deterred Nokian Tyres Inc. from its plans to roll out new products in the second half of 2020. Mark Earl, Nokian senior vice president for the Americas, told Tire Business that the Finnish tire maker plans to release products specifically for the North American market, produced at its factory in Dayton, Tenn.
How would you describe business thus far in 2020?
We had a good start to the year in North America, but like all companies in this industry, we saw a sharp decline in demand starting in late Q1.
How has your company reacted to COVID-19?
Our priorities have been to ensure the safety of our employees and to do anything we can to help our customers through this crisis, including financially supporting our customers' individual efforts to help members of their local communities who have been impacted by COVID-19.
Do you expect any supply difficulties in the second half of the year?
We do not have supply issues. Our factories are open, and we are able to keep up with demand.
What type of practices has your company implemented in light of COVID-19?
Like other companies, we temporarily have restricted travel and moved to working at home. This was an easy transition for our company because we had already moved away from a traditional office environment.
Because of our sales representatives' close relationships with customers, we have been able to continue open communication, even when we cannot visit in person.
What are some of the pleasant surprises you are seeing in the industry?
It is really great to see how much every retail and wholesale partner we work with is thinking every day about the safety and well-being of their employees, customers and communities. We applaud the efforts our customers have made to make their workplaces safer and their communities stronger during this pandemic.
The USW has petitioned for antidumping and countervailing duties on passenger and light truck tires made in Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. What is your company's reaction to that?