Business Monday

Gateway City: New Miami facilities help Goodyear drive regional sales

FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

At Goodyear, Miami is at the head of the road to regional success.

“We’re in the perfect location to give the best service to our customers in the Caribbean and Latin America,” said Steve Miller, Goodyear International’s director of the consumer product business unit for Latin America, from his company’s offices near Miami International Airport.

Miller and Luis Dizioli, Goodyear International’s general manager for Central America, the Caribbean, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay, work with Goodyear International’s customers in more than 30 countries. From their local warehouse, they can easily supply dealers from a stock of more than 20,000 tires.

“We need to be in constant contact with Goodyear dealers in the region — our customers — since they are in direct contact with the people who need tires,” Dizioli said. That communication enables the Miami warehouse to be prepared for the types of tires needed and to identify new trends, he said.

In 2014, Goodyear International opened its office-warehouse complex at the South Florida Logistics Center next to MIA to directly cover some key Latin-Caribbean markets with a staff of 32, who supply leadership and business support, including logistics and sales and marketing. Other parts of Latin America are managed from Goodyear’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio, or by regional units. Goodyear has about 5,000 total employees in Latin America and about 67,000 worldwide.

The Miami operation can quickly connect to its Latin American and Caribbean customers via flights from MIA. And from its base in the Logistics Center, the Miami office also has access to rail connections, PortMiami and Port Everglades. The tires it supplies to regional customers come from Goodyear plants in the United States and Latin America.

Goodyear International is part of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., a 117-year-old enterprise that is one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers. The company has 50 production facilities in 22 countries, including five in Latin America, in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile and Peru. The company recently announced a $550 million investment in a new, high-tech tire manufacturing plant in Mexico that will be able to produce 6 million tires per year after it goes into operation in 2017.

Latin America and the Caribbean are key markets for Goodyear, which sold a total of 162 million new tires worldwide last year. Some 17.4 million — or 10 percent of the total — were sold in Latin America. The company sells Goodyear brand tires, as well as its Kelly brand and Steelmark commercial tires, through a network of independent distributors and retailers in the region, Miller said.

Competition is normal for multinationals like Goodyear, which battles with a host of companies including Bridgestone, Michelin, Continental and Cooper, as well as other international brands and regional tire manufacturers.

As part of its strategy, the company invests heavily in research and development to keep up with new market demand and provide customers with advanced designs and the best new technology, Miller said. Last year alone, Goodyear launched five new consumer tires in Latin America, two new tires for commercial trucks and a special medium-truck tire for severe off-the-road applications.

“As consumer preferences become more complex, tire technology has to consistently exceed consumer expectations,” Miller said. “In addition to traditional factors such as treadwear, wet braking and noise, consumers consider other technical attributes like vehicle compatibility” and systems that allow a tire to run for a stretch even when it gets flat.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, urban and rural roads often have fissures, potholes and sharp rocks that damage tires on cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles. At the same time, consumers in the region want high-end tires for their fast, sporty cars and luxury vehicles. Goodyear produces tires that meet consumer needs across the range.

“Our Goodyear Eagle F1 is a leader in the ultra-high performance tire market thanks to its superior response and control in dry and wet conditions,” Dizioli said. “Also, we sell the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar — the best on- and off-road tire for light trucks, thanks to Dupont Kevlar fiber that provides maximum strength.” Kevlar was originally used in anti-ballistic vests and clothing.

Goodyear is also producing more high-value-added tires that combine innovative design, engineering and new technology developed at the company’s technical centers in Akron and Luxembourg.

“Our biggest opportunity in the region is exceeding the evolving needs of consumers in our markets,” Miller said. “As requirements become more complex and demanding, Goodyear’s ability to understand the market and develop products and services to meet these needs becomes a great asset. And that’s why Goodyear emphasizes market-backed innovation as a key competitive tool.”

Reach Joseph A. Mann Jr. at josephmannjr@gmail.com.

About the company

Business: Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers, with 50 production facilities in 22 countries, including five plants in Latin America. The company designs, manufactures, markets and sells tires and rubber-related chemicals all over the world. It makes tires for automobiles, trucks, buses, aircraft, motorcycles and farm equipment, as well as equipment for earthmoving, mining and industrial use. Last year, Goodyear sold 162 million original equipment and replacement tires worldwide. The Miami office of Goodyear International covers more than 30 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

World headquarters: Akron, Ohio.

Founded: 1898

Regional office: 3200 NW 67th Ave., Miami. This Goodyear International office and warehouse was opened in 2014 to support sales to the Caribbean, Central America and four South American nations: Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Goodyear International regional management: Steve Miller, director of the consumer product business unit, Latin America, and Luis Dizioli, general manager for Central America, the Caribbean, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Employees: 32 in the Miami regional office, about 5,000 in Latin America and 67,000 worldwide.

Net sales: More than $18.1 billion worldwide in 2014.

Ownership: Publicly traded company (Nasdaq: GT)

Website: goodyear.com

Source: Goodyear

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