Goodyear Contemplating More Tire Production In China

Goodyear considering further tire production outsourcing in an effort to control high equipment and raw materials costs.

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Goodyear will try to expand tire production in China, the company chairman and CEO said Tuesday.

In remarks at Goodyear's annual shareholders meeting, Robert Keegan also said the biggest U.S.-based tiremaker will look for more ways to eliminate production it considers high cost.

The company's Asian initiative includes buying equipment and raw materials from suppliers as well as purchasing tires from third-party manufacturers.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which had $20.3 billion in sales last year despite a three-month United Steelworkers strike at 16 North American tire or engineered products plants, is looking for savings in part due to a 17 percent increase in its raw materials costs last year.

The company already has announced it will close its plant in Tyler, Texas, by the end of this year. It will also shut down plants in Quebec, England, New Zealand and Morocco.

''This is an area where we will continue to take action to assure we have capacity aligned with global demand,'' Keegan said. ''We continue to review opportunities to further reduce high-cost capacity.''

Keegan said production sourcing in China saved the company about $35 million last year.

''This initiative will accelerate over the next two years,'' he said.

There were no specific announcements about new job cuts or plant closings.