TOKYO (Dec. 14, 2000) — Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is bracing itself for a 50-percent drop in Firestone-brand replacement car and light truck tire sales in North America next year and a $500 million net loss in fiscal 2000, according to Bridgestone Corp. Chairman Yoichiro Kaizaki.
The losses by Bridgestone/Firestone — attributed to the costs associated with the recall of 6.5 million P-metric light truck tires — will pull Bridgestone Corp. earnings down 80 percent this year from mid-year forecasts, to $117 million, Mr. Kaizaki said.
Bridgestone expects the drop in Firestone-brand aftermarket sales (vs. 1999 levels) to be offset somewhat by increased sales of Bridgestone- and associate-brand tires, leaving overall Bridgestone/Firestone sales next year only about 4 percent below the 2000 level, Mr. Kaizaki said.
Sales this year should be $7.5 billion, on par with 1999 but below earlier projections of $8 billion. Firestone-brand aftermarket sales have been off 40 percent since September, Mr. Kaizaki said.
Bridgestone expects Bridgestone/Firestone to be about $200 million in the red in 2001 before returning to the black in 2002, Mr. Kaizaki said. The company actually should be in the black on an operating basis by the second half of 2001. The losses are the first for Bridgestone/Firestone since 1992.
Bridgestone/Firestone´s losses take into account $750 million in provisions the company will take to cover the cost of the recall and possible legal liabilities.
Overall, Bridgestone Corp. expects 2001 operating earnings to fall 20 percent, to $952 million, while sales should dip about 2 percent, to $18.6 billion.