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said it plans to launch a new blimp next spring to be deployed in Pompano Beach, Fla.

The Akron, Ohio, tire manufacturer said the new airship has been in production for two years as a previously scheduled 2006 replacement for the Stars & Stripes, which has operated in Florida since 1992. Goodyear's two other U.S.-based airships, the Spirit of Goodyear, located near Akron, and the Carson, Calif.-based Spirit of America, recently were in New York City to support the company's meeting with financial analysts and investors, Goodyear said.

"As part of that meeting, with the airships hovering over the Manhattan skyline carrying hurricane relief support messages, Goodyear Chairman and CEO Robert J. Keegan opened the meeting referring to the airships overhead as highly visible evidence of the company's stepped up efforts to become a more market-driven company," Goodyear said. It added that the new airship "is further commitment to that market-driven direction."

"Our customers love the blimps," said North American tire president Jon Rich. "When you think of Goodyear, you think of tires, blimps and racing. We will continue to take advantage of our differentiated products and marketing tools to become competitively advantaged."

Goodyear made the announcement to media during the introduction of one of those differentiated new products, the new Fortera tire with TripleTred Technology for SUVs. Goodyear launched its first public relations blimp, the Pilgrim, in 1925.

On Wednesday, Goodyear shares fell 39 cents to $14.55.