Akron, Ohio - Status quo reigned over the 2017 global tire rankings, even as the estimated value of the entire industry declined for a third straight year.
Bridgestone Corp. retained the No. 1 spot for the ninth straight year, with tire-related sales of $22.1 billion, comfortably ahead of Michelin’s $21.1 billion and Goodyear’s $13.5 billion, according to research by European Rubber Journal sister publication Tire Business.
That said, all three reported lower sales than in 2015, as did more than half of the companies in this year’s Top 75 ranking.
Most of the bigger decliners were Chinese companies, who were affected disproportionately by the imposition of elevated import duties in the US and a few other countries.
Many of the major Western companies also experienced lower sales due to sluggish or even no growth in several major global markets.
Currency exchange issues also figured into the decline in many companies’ sales figures as translated into US dollars. As a result the estimated value of the global tire market dropped about 5.6% to $151 billion.
The value of several of the world’s major currencies shifted compared to the dollar by up to 20% in 2016 from 2015, the second straight year of measurable swings. Even the Chinese remnibi exchange value shifted measurably for the first time, exaggerating the declines experienced by the Chinese contingent.
The US dollar-denominated sales figures in the ranking are based on average annual currency exchange figures, in order to avoid unusually high or low exchange rates at year-end.
Overall, 10 of the 22 publicly traded companies outlined in this report suffered tire business sales declines in 2016, including a double-digit drop by Bridgestone.
A year ago nine of the 21 public companies profiled reported fiscal 2015 declines.
At the other end of the spectrum, India’s Apollo Tyres Ltd and JK Tyre & Industries Ltd registered double-digit sales gains, 10.3 and 10.2%, respectively.
Apollo attributed its sales gain to international growth – up 36% in Europe and 132% in other overseas markets. JK Tyre’s growth was aided to an extent by its acquisition of Cavendish Industries Ltd., an Indian company active in the two- and three-wheeler tire segment.
Report based on article in the Sept/October issue of European Rubber Journal magazine