The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced today a major expansion of its presence in the trucking industry through a joint venture agreement with Treadco Inc.

An agreement was concluded between Goodyear and Treadco to combine their respective commercial tire service centers in a new joint venture company, Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, LLC, which creates the world's largest network of commercial tire service outlets and truck tire retreading facilities.

"This joint venture is in line with our corporate strategy to get closer to the customer in providing products and services at the end-user level," said Sam Gibara, Goodyear chairman. "Through this agreement, we are able to combine resources that position this new entity as the leading provider of new tires, retreads and commercial service in the global truck tire industry."

Goodyear will have 60 percent ownership interest, and Treadco 40 percent in the joint venture.

Treadco has the right, at any time after April 30, 2003 and before April 30, 2004, to sell its entire joint venture interest to Goodyear for a "Put Price" of $72.5 million, subject to adjustments based on the closing balance sheet. Likewise, Goodyear has the right, at any time after April 30, 2003 and until Oct. 31, 2004, to purchase Treadco's entire joint venture interest, for cash, at a "Call Price" of $77.5 million, subject to adjustments based on the closing balance sheet.

The agreement combines the Treadco operations, Goodyear's commercial tire service centers and the Goodyear-owned Brad Ragan, Inc. commercial tire centers. Collectively, the joint venture operations -- under the Wingfoot Tire banner -- will number 194 commercial tire and service centers, 77 retreading plants and approximately 3,000 associates. Estimated first-year sales are $650 million.

"With coast-to-coast coverage, the availability of multiple brands of tires and production capacity to meet any retreading needs, Wingfoot Tire is by far the leading commercial tire company in North America to fulfill the requirements of any trucking fleet - large or small," said John Polhemus, Goodyear's president, North American Tire. "This is a significant step and further demonstrates Goodyear's commitment to be the number one provider of tires and service to the largest trucking market in the world. This will be accomplished under the Truckwise umbrella, which promotes new tire sales, retreading and truck service."

The joint venture transaction is expected to close by Oct. 31. The closing is subject to approval from the Federal Trade Commission.

Wingfoot Tire will be headquartered in Fort Smith, Ark., with John R. Meyers serving as the company's chairman and chief executive officer, and Michael R. Thomann as president and chief operating officer.

Treadco has been acknowledged as the nation's largest independent truck tire retreader and one of the largest commercial truck tire dealers. Treadco has provided quality products and services for truck fleets around the country since 1958.

Goodyear supplies original equipment commercial tires to leading truck manufacturers, offers a wide range of replacement tires to meet the needs of commercial carriers and independent drivers, and is one of North America's largest retreaders of medium radial commercial truck tires. Additional information on Goodyear's medium truck tires, along with its agricultural and passenger tires, can be found by visiting the company's home page on the World Wide Web at www.goodyear.com .