What sector offers the most growth potential? How have you addressed that?
We continue to see strong growth in the light truck and SUV segment, and we have responded by introducing the Nokian Tyres Outpost AT and APT this year.
One is an all-terrain tire built for off-road and highway use, and the other is an all-purpose terrain tire that offers a great highway ride but is versatile enough to leave the road, too. This new product family allows us to reach more drivers by expanding the diversity of our product offering and growing our size range, too.
Do you expect to roll out any additional products in 2022?
We cannot divulge what is ahead on our product planning radar, but we are always working to develop new products that respond to the needs of customers and drivers.
What technology will be a game-changer?
Aramid technology has been a game-changer for us, especially as we have used it in a growing number of our products. We began by introducing it only in our light truck and SUV tires, but we now use it in the passenger Nokian Tyres One, too.
We have also begun embedding it beneath the tread of some products. As a highly durable fiber, it offers extreme protection from road hazards without impacting the performance of the tire.
What is the most compelling initiative that your company has or is taking to address sustainability?
We always strive to be an industry leader in sustainability. Most recently, we have emphasized this with new products. In January, we introduced a concept tire that is made of 93% recyclable and renewable materials. The Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta R5 will have the lowest rolling resistance of any tire we have ever made.
In addition, we have reduced CO2 emissions from tire production by 40% since 2015. And last year, the administration building at our Dayton factory earned LEED v4 Gold certification.
How do you explain the recent spate of price increases? Will prices stabilize anytime soon?
Inflation, raw materials challenges and supply issues are easy factors to identify. We, too, have raised prices in line with the market. It is hard to forecast when prices will stabilize, but we will continue responding to market changes with agility and with our customers in mind.
What is the status of the planned European plant? Any timeline?
Adding new supply capacity in Europe is a key priority for Nokian Tyres, but we cannot offer a timeline at this time.
Do you expect any other investments in the next six months or year, in either personnel, distribution facilities or capacity expansions?
At this stage in our company's growth, we are focused on strengthening existing capital investments, such as the Dayton factory and our Hakka Ring test facility in Spain. That includes continued investment in equipment and workforce that will help the Dayton factory reach full capacity.
What are some of the challenges of the industry?
How can we keep prices manageable for drivers while working through supply challenges? I think that is the biggest question for our industry at the moment, as we manage the imbalance of supply and demand.
Anything else to add?
While we would never have anticipated some of the challenges we have faced this year, it is clear our company has what it takes to help customers thrive, even during difficult days.
Our balance sheet is strong, our products are very popular, and our partnerships with customers are in a good place. We are eager to use these strengths as a platform for growth in the years ahead.