Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced Monday that it was buying Cooper Tire & Rubber Company for $2.5 billion. The announcement is extremely Ohio.
Cooper is based in Findlay, Ohio, while Goodyear is based in Akron, Ohio. The consolidation will combine the two brands, along with several others like Mastercraft and Roadmaster.
From the joint press release:
The combined company will have the opportunity to leverage the strength of Goodyear original equipment and premium replacement tires, along with the mid-tier power of the Cooper brand, which has particular strength in the light truck and SUV segments. Together, these brands have the opportunity to deliver a more complete offering to aligned distributors and retailers.
The combined company will have about 72,000 employees, according to the press release, and had about $17.5 billion in sales in 2019. And “the mid-tier power of the Cooper brand” is something we can all aspire to; I say this lovingly, as a born-and-raised Ohioan, but the power of all of this combined mediocrity is almost overwhelming.
Anyway, the tire market isn’t all that hard to understand, in that there are four brands — Michelin, Continental, Bridgestone and Pirelli — that have cemented their status as the best. In the second tier are Goodyear and Cooper, along with Firestone, Yokohama, BF Goodrich and General, and others like Dunlop. Next, you have, well, the tires you get when you go to the tire place and you tell them you want the cheapest option and you end up with Fuzions.
On the other hand, tires are a bit hard to understand in that it’s difficult — absent testing on the track or testing on ice or testing in general — to discern what sets them apart, which is why I think most people just go for the cheapest and go with God. I have Michelin all-seasons on my Fit, which I was very pleased with myself for buying, though they were only a few bucks more than the cheap ones, or $115 per tire.
They have held up well in the couple of years that I’ve had them, though I’ve never really tested them in harsh conditions, which I will rectify in a week when I drive back to New York City from Los Angeles via the northern route, and presumably encounter some snow and ice. Bring it on, I say, right up until I learn the limits of all-seasons and slide off the road into doom.