March 30, 2004

Goodyear to use new synthetic rubber

Akron, Ohio – The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is preparing to use new synthetic rubber products that could help the company reduce its natural rubber dependency by as much as 15 percent over the next few years.

“We’ve been working on these polymers for some time,” said Joseph M. Gingo, Goodyear executive vice president for quality systems and chief technical officer, “but recent natural rubber price volatility, that has shown no signs of subsiding soon, created a sense of urgency for our research and development people.”

The last two years have seen world natural rubber prices climb steadily as demand has increased. Most industry observers expect the prices to continue upward through 2004.

“After just going through a very difficult economic period as an industry, we felt at Goodyear that we could ill afford to sit back and hope that relief in the form of lower natural rubber prices would come along,” said Goodyear’s Gary A. Miller, vice president and chief procurement officer.

“While our newly developed synthetic rubber products do not totally solve raw material cost concerns, we have gained for ourselves greater flexibility,” he added.

“That flexibility not only will help cushion us against future natural rubber price volatility, but also provides us with a competitive advantage,” Miller said.

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