Bridgestone Corp. will invest $250 million in the coming two years to expand its global tire production capacity and realign the geographical distribution network for its tire products. The moves reflect a shift in demand toward higher-performance tires in industrialized regions, the company said.
The lion's share of the investment will be in Asia, including Japan, where Bridgestone said it will spend $40 million at its Kurume, Tosu, Hofu, Hikone, Tokyo and Nasu plants.
Production of higher-value added tires at these facilities will increase by 5,000 units per day by the end of 2003, while much of their output of commodity-grade tires will shift to other Asian countries.
By the end of 2004, Thai Bridgestone Co. Ltd will have invested about $80 million to increase capacity of its Nong Khae plant 55.5 percent to 28,000 units per day, Bridgestone said. PT Bridgestone Tire Indonesia will invest $8 million to raise output at its Karawang plant 20 percent to 18,000 units per day.
In China, daily capacity at Bridgestone (Tianjin) Tire Co. Ltd. will jump 27.2 percent to 14,000 units, marking another investment of $8 million, according to the Japanese group.
In Europe, Bridgestone/Firestone Poland Ltd. will spend $60 million to raise the capacity of its Poznan plant by 50 percent, to 15,000 units per day. The new capacity for large and high-performance tires will come on stream by the end of 2004, Bridgestone said.
Likewise, Bridgestone's Latin American units will take on more production of commodity-grade tires for North American markets. This will involve a $40 million investment at Bridgestone/Firestone de Costa Rica S.A. to lift capacity of its San Jose plant to 12,000 tires a day by the end of 2004. Bridgestone/Firestone Mexico S.A., meanwhile, is investing $8 million to raise capacity of its Cuernavaca facility 7.7 percent to 14,000 tires a day by year-end.