Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT) notched its first annual profit in four years, but the tire maker’s fourth-quarter profits badly missed Wall Street’s expectations.

The disappointing news from Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear sent the company’s stock dropping about 4% in premarket action.

The company said it earned $18 million, or 7 cents per share, last quarter, compared with a loss of $177 million, or 73 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned 3 cents a share, badly missing the Street’s view of 20 cents.

Revenue jumped 12% to $5.7 billion, trailing consensus calls for $5.88 billion.

“I am very pleased with our record sales and segment operating income performance in 2011 as we successfully managed a challenging economic environment,” CEO Richard Kramer said in a statement. “Despite lower fourth quarter unit volume, all four of our tire businesses achieved record fourth quarter and full-year sales as we improved price/mix and gained branded share in our targeted market segments.”

Goodyear said its tire unit volume slid 5% last quarter to 43.2 million units, while revenue per tire jumped 19% due in part to higher prices.

North American tire sales climbed 17% to $2.58 billion and sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa  rose 11% to $1.91 billion.

Looking ahead, Goodyear forecasted flat tire unit volume in 2012 and a 5% rise in raw material costs.

Shares of Goodyear declined 4.08% to $13.40 in Tuesday’s premarkets. The stock has dropped just over 1% over the past 52 weeks.

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