While some securities analysts talked about industrywide overcapacity, several tire manufacturers saw fit to increase their individual production capabilities during 1993. Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., for example, agreed to buy back the former Firestone plant in Bloomington, Ill., which was sold to Edwards-Warren Tire Co. in 1987-a year before the former Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. was purchased by Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp.
Edwards-Warren, which does business as America OTR, has been using the plant to turn out giant off-the-road tires.
BFS said it plans to double the plant's production capacity to 50,000 OTR tires per year.
Meanwhile, BFS said it will spend $110 million to expand truck tire production at its Warren County, Tenn., plant.
The Nashville, Tenn.-based company told a meeting of commercial tire dealers in June that the highly automated Warren County plant has become Bridgestone's lowest-cost producer of truck radials worldwide.
Goodyear boosted radial light truck tire capacity 67 percent at its Gadsden, Ala., plant to meet what it called the increased demand for its Wrangler line.
Meanwhile, the company said it will spend $34 million to raise production of light and medium truck tires by 35 percent at its Topeka, Kan., plant, which rolled out its 200 millionth tire in 1993.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. put a 163,000-sq.-ft. addition on its Findlay, Ohio, passenger, light truck and truck tire plant. The addition should boost daily capacity by 1,000 passenger and LT units, to a total of 22,800 tires.
Michelin North America Inc., with financial assistance from the Canadian government, announced plans to invest $793 million in upgrading its Uniroyal Goodrich tire plant in Kitchener, Ontario.
Meanwhile, parent company Groupe Michelin, opened a ``revolutionary'' tire production facility in Clermont Ferrand, France, based on a ``toroidal'' or donut-shaped process.
The process reportedly offers increased flexibility in tire output, while taking up only 10 percent as much space as a conventional plant; thus making it well-suited for filling small niche markets.
Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. during '93 built a 100,000-sq.-ft. plant to turn out radial race tires not far from its existing production facility in Lakeville, Ind.
Opening the plant was Hoosier's first step in preparation for reentering Winston Cup racing, said President and CEO Bob Newton, who co-founded the company with his wife, Joyce, in 1957.