Goodyear is the world's third largest tire manufacturer (behind Bridgestone and Michelin, but above Continental), but #1 in North America, and #2 in Europe. It sold around 159m tire units in 2017, roughly 70% of them to consumers as replacements and the balance to car manufacturers. In addition to tire manufacturing operations in more than 20 countries, it manages an extensive chain of around 1,100 service centres under the Goodyear or Just Tires name. In 2018, the company merged its wholesale distribution network in the US with that of rival Bridgestone to create a new independent joint venture, TireHub. It also launched a bizarre new tire design, Oxygene, in which living moss is embedded inside the tire's sidewalls to absorb moisture from the road and also extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Goodyear is also well-known internationally for its fleet of advertising blimps, which it has operated since 1925, and which revolutionised TV coverage of football games with their overhead footage. As well as the main Goodyear range it controls several supporting tire brands including Dunlop tires in most but not all countries, budget-priced Kelly in the US, Fulda in Germany, Debica in Poland and Sava in other Central European markets. Profits have bounced up and down for several years, but revenues have been in steady decline as a result of stiff competition. The total for 2017 was $15.4bn (from almost $21bn in 2012). Rich Kramer is chairman & CEO. Until recently, the company maintained a global alliance with Sumitomo Rubber Industries of Japan, former owner of the Dunlop brand. Goodyear moved to dissolve that partnership in 2015, acquiring full rights to the Dunlop consumer car tire brand in North America, Europe and Japan, but not motorcycle tires or sales to Japanese manufacturers. The company was founded in 1898 by Frank Seiberling, who named it after Charles Goodyear, the man who had invented commercial rubber manufacturing by the process of vulcanisation. Yet Goodyear himself had no connection with the company, having died in poverty 30 years before it was established, having sold licenses for his process to a variety of more astute businessmen for far less than it was worth.
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Capsule checked 23rd January 2019
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