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In an industry in which frequent, drastic and often surprising changes are taking place, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is a model of consistency.
The Findlay, Ohio, manufacturer just churns along turning out tires and profits - and doing so by taking the high road in times of increasing acrimony and vindictiveness.
Pat Rooney, in his third year as chairman and CEO, continues the formula that has made Cooper one of the most-admired and best-run tire companies.
The company is a very efficient tire producer because it steadily reinvests in its plants and equipment and because it has exceptionally good relations with its factory workers who are among the industry's most productive.
In an era when most manufacturers have begun selling more and more tires through channels other than independent tire stores, Cooper continues to protect its independent dealers, even when it could mean sacrificing some business.
For example, it has staunchly resisted the temptation to make Cooper-brand tires available to any of the country's largest tire store chains. In fact, you can't buy a Cooper tire in the nation's top 15 groups, any of which by their sheer size would have outlets too close to other Cooper dealers.
No wonder the company's dealer relations are among the best in the …