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While many U.S. tiremakers are beset by excess capacity, heavy debt loads and sluggish sales, a less-troubled Dunlop Tire Corp. is in position to increase market share.
That belief, expressed by some industry analysts, also supposes that Dunlop's Japanese parent, Sumitomo Rubber Industries Inc., is lowering costs at the company's Town of Tonawanda tire plant with an implied threat to move operations into its Huntsville, Ala., plant.
"The whole $20 billion North American tire industry has suffered massive losses over the last 18 months," said analyst Saul Ludwig of the Cleveland-based Roulston & Co.
Michelin lost almost $1 billion in 1990. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. lost $350 million and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. lost $38 million. In the first half of this year, those companies again rolled up losses. …