CTNA Drawing Profits from Passenger/LCV Segments
Continental Tire North America says its passenger/light truck tyre division will finish 2007 in the black for the first time in a decade. CTNA CEO Matthias Schonberg and Andreas Gerstenberger, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the unit, shared the news with trade media on February 1. While exact figures are not available yet, the pair assured that CTNA’s passenger/light truck tyre unit ended 2007 with a profit. There was no word on the financial results of CTNA’s commercial tyre business.
Contributing to the group’s results was accelerated sales of General brand products in North America, they said, driven by the General Altimax powerline introduced last year. CTNA officials said some 1.2 million Altimax units were sold in 2007, far exceeding expectations. Production rationalisation in North America, the expansion of CTNA’s plant in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and the addition of a new plant in Brazil also helped drive the year’s results, they said.
CTNA plans for further growth in 2008 with continued General brand sales and a greater push on Continental brand products. Included in those plans is new General brand business with mega-retailer Canadian Tire, starting later this year. Despite currency exchange difficulties, CTNA intends to add more products to its Continental brand line-up.
According to Gerstenberger, some of the actions that drove the turnaround included exiting unprofitable OE and replacement segments, reducing SKU complexity, moving to a common green platform for tyres, maintaining disciplined pricing, focusing on specific segments such as winter, UHP and light truck/SUV markets, adding new products with a goal of reaching 80 per cent market coverage, and targeting its Continental and General brands at specific segments. (Tire Review/Akron)