Akron, Ohio – Is Continental AG on the verge of demoting Goodyear to No. 4 in the world in terms of passenger tire capacity?
That's the contention of Astutus Research, a London-based market research firm, which said the scale of Conti's capacity expansions in the past few years — totaling close to 20 million units a year — has pulled the German company equal with Goodyear in the passenger/light truck tire realm.
Goodyear as a whole remains larger than Continental — by nearly $3 billion (€2.58bn) based on 2017 results — based on its stronger positions in truck, OTR and aircraft tires. Conti only recently revived its farm/OTR business and has no sales in the aircraft arena.
However, Astutus Research contends that Conti has pulled even with Goodyear in the $90 billion consumer tire sector that is considered the key battleground for the largest players in the global tire market.
Both Continental and Goodyear declined to comment on the report, Astustus reported.
Depending on the number of days Goodyear's various car tire plants are in operation, Goodyear's annual capacity for passenger/light truck tires stands at approximately 140 million to 150 million units, according to research conducted by Tire Business.
Conti's worldwide capacity for the same type of tires is estimated to be 154 million units.
In its summary, Astutus Research stated: "In an increasingly competitive tire market, Continental's continued expansion will add to the pressure on mid-tier players that are less efficient and do not hold a competitive advantage through either branding or distribution."
Astutus Research was established in 2012, covering the tire industry in general and the tire aftermarket more specifically. The group's goal, however, is to expand its coverage to the broader global automotive aftermarket.
(More detailed analysis of the Astutus Research study will appear in the Sept/Oct edition of European Rubber Journal magazine).