Goodyear attributed the lower revenue to unfavourable foreign currency translation losses ($389 million) and lower sales in other tire-related businesses ($62 million.)
These declines were partially offset by improved price and product mix of $268 million, including a favourable shift to replacement products from OE.
Goodyear said its results in Latin America are highly dependent upon Brazil, which accounted for 39 and 55 percent of the business unit’s revenue in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
Venezuela, which won’t be part of the region’s accounting going forward, accounted for 33 and 16 percent of Latin America’s net sales in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO), which operates eight tire plants and dozens of sales offices and dealer networks throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, said some markets in Latin America are experiencing slowing overall economic activity, along with some political instability, while other countries have a more stable government with economic growth.
“Market conditions, though, remain challenging throughout the region, which impacts the overall economy, and consequently the performance of the automotive and tire industries, with declines in vehicle production in many markets, causing an activity slowdown in consumer and commercial OEM and replacement tires market segments,” the company told Tire Business in answer to questions submitted via email.
In May, BATO parent Bridgestone Corp. divested its business unit in Venezuela, Bridgestone Firestone Venezolana CA, after deconsolidating the operations from its consolidated financial statements last year because “other-than-temporary lack of exchangeability between the Bolivar and the US dollar is restricting the subsidiary’s ability to purchase raw materials and pay dividends on a sustainable basis.”
“Despite these difficult market conditions, Bridgestone Latin America is continuously investing in talent development, technological innovation, and in our manufacturing plants, such as the recently announced investments in our plants in Argentina and Brazil, in addition to expansion of our product line-up, including tires that increase fuel efficiency, and a new advertising campaign being launched in July throughout the region,” a spokesperson for BATO told Tire Business.
Bridgestone’s presence in the region dates back more than 100 years to the former Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in Argentina. Today it has six subsidiaries that make up the Latin American Tire division (BATO LA), which is part of Nashville-based BATO.
The company said it has more than 8,500 employees via corporate and sales offices located throughout the region. It also operates a network of outlets for consumer and commercial tires, including company-owned stores and dealer networks.
Bridgestone operates four tire manufacturing plants in Brazil, two in Mexico, one in Argentina and one in Costa Rica, along with proving grounds in Acuña, Mexico, and São Pedro, Brazil, according to the firm.
Through its Bandag do Brasil Ltda. and Bandag de Mexico, SA de CV, Bridgestone manufactures and markets precure retread materials for truck and bus tires.
Bridgestone has been touting its inaugural stint as a Worldwide Olympic Partner for the Olympic Games in Brazil this summer, marking “the first truly global marketing platform in our company’s history,” a company spokesperson noted.
“The Olympic platform provides an unprecedented opportunity for Bridgestone to engage with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders by: furthering the company‘s global and regional goals to build the brand, raising its profile and reputation, deepening and building new relationships, celebrating teammates, communicating with the boss and more.”
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., which serves the region via sales agents in 21 Latin American and Caribbean nations, disclosed aggressive growth plans for the region in 2014 but did not comment specifically in its 2015 financial reports on its performance there last year.
In late 2015 Cooper struck a deal with Argentina’s Fate S.a.i.c. to work together, with Fate planning to distribute Cooper-branded consumer tires in Argentina starting immediately.
The companies also may work together on a variety of potential cooperative ventures, including tire production, offtake arrangements, and possible cooperation on research and development activities.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., which opened a car and light truck tire plant in Fazenda Rio Grande City, Brazil, in 2014, did not provide sales data for South America in its 2015 financials.
The region is considered part of Sumitomo’s “others” category, which reported sales of $912 million last year.