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Goodyear to cut part of its tire business

AKRON, Ohio -- Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the world's largest tire maker, yesterday said it was axing a third of its private label tire business and cutting manufacturing jobs to improve profits.

The Akron, Ohio-based company said about 10 brands of tires manufactured by Goodyear but sold under other names to a small number of wholesale customers will be eliminated over the next year. Goodyear will keep the remaining two-thirds of its private label business.

``Today's announcement is part of our continuing strategy to focus selectively on the more profitable segments of the business. Our intention is to build upon the market strength we have established in our branded and retailer-specific product lines," said Jonathan D. Rich, president of Goodyear's North American Tire business.

Last year, the 10 labels generated about $300 million in revenue -- 1.5 percent of the company's total revenue of $19.72 billion last year -- with about 8 million units sold, Goodyear said.

Rich said the decision will mean job cuts, but he was not specific.

Goodyear has been cutting costs as part of its $1 billion turnaround plan it started three years ago after record losses, accounting errors, and a stock dive.

Goodyear spokesman Keith Price said the company is not releasing the names of the brands.

Price said specific details about job cuts and where they will come from will be disclosed later.

The United Steelworkers of America, which represents the plants' workers, has been unable to get details about possible job cuts, spokesman Wayne Ranick said. He estimated that 1,000 jobs could be lost.

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