New Goodyear CEO Upbeat Despite Fire - Tire Review Magazine

New Goodyear CEO Upbeat Despite Fire

(Akron/Tire Review – Jamaica Gleaner) Notwithstanding the competitive market and high price elasticity, newly appointed managing director of Goodyear Jamaica, Steven Miller, says that the tyre company plans to strengthen the brand in Jamaica and recapture lost market share.

"Jamaica is a very important market for Goodyear, and together with our leadership team, I look forward to communicating the competitive attributes of the Goodyear brand to the Jamaican consumer," said Miller at a press conference on Wednesday, at which he gave an update on the company’s operations since the Jan. 12 fire.

Miller declined to quantify the losses from the blaze or how it would affect the company’s books, only that the "incident should not negatively impact strategic and performance objectives for 2007."

The company resumed tyre shipments Jan. 19.

Major progress, he said, has been made in fire recovery, noting that several containers of tyres were already at the Kingston Wharf and in transit prior to the fire.

"There was significant forward-buying by customers prior to the incident [and] Goodyear’s business continuity plan facilitated shipments of tyres from around the world," the general manager noted during his presentation.

Miller’s major challenge will be to reclaim market share from cheaper products which have flooded the market in recent years, the volatility of raw material costs – some 65% of the raw materials in tyre is derived from petroleum products – and the market sensitivity to price changes.

The premier full-line supplier, Goodyear controls just about half of the local market. It also sells the low-end Kelly brand, and re-exports tyres to the Eastern Caribbean.

For its nine months to Sept. 30, 2006, the company’s turnover was $967 million, a 12% increase over the previous year. But, with a 19% rise in cost of sales, gross profit dove 25%, to $111 million. Net profit for the period dipped by 55% to $24 million.

Still, Miller is confident that the company will make strides as it seeks to capitalise on Goodyear’s brand strength and technology.

"Our biggest issue right now is assessing the market and working with our customers to make sure that we bring in the right products at the right time, [and] there is money to be made in every segment of the business, and I can’t go on record to talk about where we are going to invest our marketing dollars because, obviously, every segment has different market strategies associated with it."

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