Which sector offers the most growth potential? How did you approach this?
We continue to see strong growth in the light truck and SUV segment, and we have responded by introducing the Nokian Tires Outpost AT and APT this year.
One is an all-terrain tire designed for off-road and highway use, and the other is an all-purpose all-terrain tire that offers great highway handling but is versatile enough to get off the road as well. This new family of products allows us to reach more riders by expanding the diversity of our product offering and also expanding our range of sizes.
Do you plan to roll out additional products in 2022?
We cannot disclose what awaits us on our product planning radar, but we are always working to develop new products that meet customer and driver needs.
What technology will be a game-changer?
Aramid technology has been a game-changer for us, especially since we have used it in an increasing number of our products. We started by introducing it only in our light truck and SUV tyres, but now we also use it in the passenger Nokian Tires One.
We have also started integrating it under the tread of certain products. As a very resistant fiber, it offers extreme protection against the vagaries of the road without affecting the performance of the tire.
What is the most compelling initiative your company has taken or is taking to address sustainability?
We always strive to be an industry leader in sustainability. More recently we have underlined this with new products. In January, we launched a concept tire made from 93% recyclable and renewable materials. Nokian Tires Hakkapeliitta R5 will have the lowest rolling resistance of any tire we have ever made.
Additionally, we have reduced CO2 emissions from tire production by 40% since 2015. And last year, our Dayton factory administration building achieved LEED v4 Gold certification.
How do you explain the recent wave of price increases? Will prices soon stabilize?
Inflation, raw material challenges and supply issues are easily identified factors. We too have increased the prices according to the market. It is difficult to predict when prices will stabilize, but we will continue to react to market changes with agility and with our customers in mind.
Where is the future European factory? Timeline ?
Adding new supply capacity in Europe is a key priority for Nokian Tires, but we cannot offer a timeline at this time.
Do you foresee any other investments over the next six months or the next year, whether in personnel, distribution facilities or capacity expansion?
At this stage of our business growth, we are focused on building on existing capital investments, such as the Dayton plant and our Hakka Ring test facility in Spain. This includes continued investments in equipment and labor that will help the Dayton plant reach full capacity.
What are some of the industry challenges?
How can we keep driver prices manageable while dealing with supply challenges? I think that’s the biggest question for our industry right now, as we manage the imbalance of supply and demand.
Anything else to add?
Although we never anticipated some of the challenges we faced this year, it’s clear that our business has what it takes to help customers thrive, even on tough days.
Our balance sheet is strong, our products are highly valued and our partnerships with our customers are doing well. We look forward to using these strengths as a platform for growth in the years to come.