Turning now to the agenda. Rich will provide a business overview, including perspective on our second quarter results and our progress on Goodyear's key strategic objectives. After Rich's remarks, Darren will discuss the financial results and outlook before opening the call to your questions.With that, I will now turn the call over to Rich. Richard J. Kramer Great. Thanks, Greg, and good morning, everyone. We look forward to discussing our business which continues to do well in this uncertain environment. For the past several months, we have all seen increasing uncertainty in the global economy and its effect in virtually every industry and business. Beginning with the great recession of late 2008, and continuing with today's volatility in Europe, this has been a time of immense challenges. Yet our second quarter results gives us confidence that we have the right strategies in place and we are successfully building our business to better withstand the fluctuations of the tire industry, the marketplace and the global economy. In the second quarter, we delivered $336 million of segment operating income and $85 million in net income. This is a strong result and one that I'm very proud of, given that industry volumes declined to levels similar to those we saw during the depths of the great recession. Now during my remarks this morning, I'll take you through an overview of the second quarter results, offer my perspective on our outstanding performance in North America, address the business situation in Europe and offer an outlook for 2013. I'll begin by taking a look at some of the positives and negatives that stood out during the second quarter. Our North America business delivered record results for any quarter. I'll elaborate on this further in a few moments, but I want to emphasize that these results were not based on volume but rather the structural change we have been implementing to our business model aimed at creating consistent earnings, positive cash generation and most importantly, industry-leading customer service.
For the total company, our gross margin also improved year-over-year, reflective of continued strong price/mix, offsetting what continue to be historically high raw material cost increases. This is a strategy we have been executing consistently over many quarters, critical, given our expectation of rising raw materials over the long term.In our Asia Pacific business, our record second quarter earnings was $71 million, even with the startup cost associated with our Pulandian facility, demonstrate progress toward our strategy to win in China. Our progress there is bolstered by investments in innovative products, building brands, enhancing our distribution and developing our team. Those efforts are supported by our newest and most modern production facility, now up and running ahead of plan. As a result, we continue to gain share in China, focused in on our targeted market segments. During the second quarter, we also continue to strengthen our financial position and our balance sheet. We completed the refinancing of our U.S. credit facilities in April, which now extends our maturity schedule considerably and gives us significant flexibility to drive our strategy even in the midst of economic uncertainty. And when coupled with the new U.S. legislation to stabilize pension contributions, our near-term cash and liquidity position have improved substantially. We also saw several challenges in the second quarter. Volumes softness driven by economic weakness, particularly in Europe, combined with destocking and dealer challenge globally hurt our volumes and resulted in higher inventories despite aggressive actions to reduce European production and to manage working capital. I'll add more thoughts about Europe in a few moments as well. We also were negatively impacted by the effect of weaker currencies against the U.S. dollar, which for the first time since early 2009, significantly affected our international sales and segment operating income. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com