Companies in this industry manufacture tires and inner tubes for a variety of vehicles. Major companies include Goodyear and Cooper (US), Michelin (France), Bridgestone Corporation and Sumitomo Rubber Industries (Japan), Continental AG (Germany), Pirelli (Italy), and Hankook (South Korea).
Demand is driven by sales of new vehicles and the need for replacement tires. Because tires are largely a commodity, profitability depends on cost-efficient operations. Large companies can afford the research to develop tires from new, technologically advanced materials and can invest in improving production efficiency. Small companies can compete by producing tires or tire-related products for niche markets, such as bicycles or farm equipment. The US industry is highly concentrated: the top four companies generate more than 70% of revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major products are tires for passenger cars (about 45% of industry revenue); trucks and buses (30%); and tractor, farm and industrial vehicles (5%). Companies also make inner tubes and materials for tire repair and retreading, primarily from synthetic and natural rubber.