Samir Gibara, chief executive officer of Goodyear, was interviewed in Geneva by David Shaw of Crain News Service.
Goodyear talks of achieving sales of $20 billion a year. Where from?
We want to grow at twice the industry rate, excluding acquisitions. We have been doing so in the past, and we can continue. We want to be known as the innovator in our business. This will generate excitement among consumers and help improve our margins by positioning new tires at the right price levels.
Do you expect to take market share from competitors?
Yes, but that will not make us a $20 billion company. That will need a combination of acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances. We have a unique opportunity in this industry with the collapse of Communism and we have moved very fast in new markets.
In the past four years, we have opened joint ventures in China, India, the Philippines, Poland, India, Slovenia, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela and the USA. We are selling in Russia, but we are waiting for more stability before we make a financial commitment.
Acquisitions and joint ventures go with a strategy of global sourcing. We are supplying the USA from Asia and Latin America. We supply western Europe from eastern Europe.
What about new technologies?
We have started selling electronic tire monitoring in Europe and the USA this month.
Our second technology is ultra-tensile wire in the body of the tire. We also have a new process technology, Impact. It will take 10-20 years to implement fully, but we will produce tires with 75 percent fewer employees, 15 percent less material, 175 percent better productivity per employee, 50 percent less inventory and 70 percent more flexibility in making changes.
The industry is changing rapidly. How will this affect your relationships with the automakers?
The auto industry is 20 times bigger than the tire industry. We will never be on a par with the big boys, but we can improve our bargaining position by offering creative solutions. Electronic tire monitoring is getting the attention of every major car company in the world. That means we can become more of a partner and less of a supplier.