The company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.Turning now to the agenda. On today's call, Rich will provide a business review. After Rich’s remark, Darren will, in fact, will discuss the financial results and outlook before opening the call to your questions. That finishes my comments and I will now turn the call over to Rich. Richard Kramer Thank you, Pat and good morning to everyone. I’ll separate my remarks this morning into three sections. First, I’ll highlight our strong second quarter results which are very gratifying, then I will offer some observations on what I see in our markets in the economy. And finally I will share with you some reflections of my first 100 days on the job and how my discussions and observations over the past three months have increased our confidence in our business, our industry, our team and finally our earnings prospects. First, let’s highlight our strong second quarter results. During the second quarter, we achieved significant progress across all our businesses driven by a combination of sales growth and cost actions versus the comparable prior year period, sales were up 15%, units up 10% and segment operating income was $219 million, an improvement of more than 190 million for the second quarter 2009. This kind of performance demonstrates that we have pulled the right levers during the economic downturn and that our actions have us well positioned for growth opportunities presented by the recovery. From an operational standpoint, our performance was driven by our ability to capture the benefits of recovering industry demand in terms of sales volume and factory utilization. The continued use of award winning new products in all of our regions, delivering price increases and mix improvements through a relentless focus on brands and channels to address escalating raw material costs and delivering productivity improvements resulting from continued focus on sustainable cost reduction programs.
Some particular highlights of our performances include stronger results in our North America business where segment operating income was $16 million, which was more than $100 million improvement over the prior period. I point out that the improvement would be even more impressive, were it not for a $20 million impact from an unforeseen adverse procedural ruling on a six-year-old product liability case which we continue to contest.Our North American business continued to focus on innovation, price mix, productivity and improving its manufacturing efficiency as part of our process of transforming that business, a transformation that was on track before being disrupted by the great recession. Our results reflect progress in these areas and give us confidence in our ability to achieve our 5% segment operating income margin target. Certainly, we have more actions planned but we are absolutely on the right path. In Latin America, despite the issues in Venezuela, that reduced our year-over-year results, our team again delivered by nearly offsetting this decrease. Our marketing leading position, our brands, our new products and our distribution networks position us well as Latin America markets continue to advance. The success and impact of our new product engine was recognized again in China where our recently introduced Goodyear Eagle EfficientGrip tire received Motor Trend magazine's award for Comfort Tire of the Year. And in Europe, where innovation has been our main stay, we introduced the Goodyear LH2 commercial trailer tire which completes our fuel Mac line up. But it provide us sense of the impact, this product line up delivers, a fleet using fuel matched tires and average long haul operations can realize savings of up to $3000 per truck per year in addition to reducing CO2 emissions by 5200 kilograms per truck per year. In addition, our high return capital investments targeted that improving costs, capacity and capability are progressing on schedule. Our planned investments of more than a billion dollars in 2010, an increase of more than a third over 2009 demonstrate our commitment to improving our competitiveness and to growing our business.
And our operating cash flow continue to reflect actions, we’ve taken to improve our supply chain and reduce working capital with seasonal growth below historic levels. Our businesses delivered in the second quarter by executing against our strategies and despite the anticipated challenges of second half raw material costs and an unusually uncertain economy, I come out of the quarter energized that we are clearly on the right path.Relative to the economy, we saw more robust first half 2010 recovery than was anticipated. This was particularly true for North America and Europe. While we see global economies progressing, we remain mindful that consumer spending has not rebounded, unemployment will remain high for an extended period of time and government's response to increased deficits and other sovereign crisis remains undecided and consequently uncertain. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com