By Alex Kapadia
Bridgestone regained the No. 1 spot last year among the world’s tyres manufacturers, despite reporting lower tyre division sales in its yen-denominated accounts, new figures have revealed.
Michelin tyres had grabbed the top spot a year ago by a slim percentage point.
However, currency swings played a measurable role in the rankings for this year, as Bridgestone’s $23.4 billion in tyres-related sales outpaced the French tyre makers $22.8 billion.
It marks the fourth time in the past five years and sixth time in the past decade that Bridgestone has been No. 1 on Tyre Businesses global tyre rankings.
Bridgestone’s claim to the top spot is strengthened by its 43-percent stake in Turkey’s BRISA Bridgstone-Sabanci Tyre Mfg., which stands 34th in the ranking with sales of $591.3 million.
The Japanese company also owns 16 percent of Finland’s Nokian Tyres P.L.C., which is 17th this year with tyre sales of $1.42 billion.
Overall, the estimated size of the global marketplace was up about 9 percent to $140 billion, in part due to the swings in currency values and the addition of several Chinese companies to the rankings.
There are now 22 billion-dollar tyre makers on the list, with India’s JK Tyre & Industries Ltd. joining the club, based in large part on the first-time inclusion of sales from Mexico’s Hulera Tornel, which the New Delhi-based tyre maker bought in May 2008.