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BFS overhauling product lineup

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LAS VEGAS (Nov. 1, 2006) — Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) is overhauling portions of its product lineup, launching a family of dedicated commercial light truck tires, upgrading its Bridgestone Turanza touring and Firestone Firehawk performance lines and phasing out its Road King and Duralon brands.

The new light truck family, called Duravis, will offer customers high mileage and durability, according to Jack Baratta, vice president consumer sales, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire L.L.C. The first product will be the Duravis R500HD, available in six 16- and 17-inch sizes starting in January.

BFS will replace its existing Bridgestone Turanza LS lineup with an entirely new Turanza range featuring “Serenity technology” for the “ultimate in ride and comfort.” The company did not elaborate on what constitutes serenity technology but will mold the term on the tire's sidewall.

BFS will start rolling out the new line in March, initially with 10 H-rated, five V-rated and seven W-rated sizes. It will offer limited warranties of 70,000 miles on the H-rated sizes and 45,000 miles on the V- and W-rated sizes, according to Phil Pacsi, president of North American consumer marketing at BFNT.

On the Firestone side, BFS is adding a higher performance GT version to its Firehawk line and adding a pursuit version of the Firehawk GT for sales to law enforcement agencies. The Firehawk GT will be available in 27 sizes—14 H-rated sizes, eight V-rated sizes and five W-rated sizes—and BFS will back the H and V products with a 50,000-mile warranty and the W sizes with a 40,000 mile warranty.

The pursuit version, which features greater load-carrying capacity and a more robust casing, will be available in a 17-inch size for the Ford Crown Victoria and an 18-inch size for the Dodge Magnum, Mr. Baratta said.

The company also announced numerous size additions to other Bridgestone and Firestone product lines.

On the associate brand side, BFS will consolidate its offerings to the Lemans, Dayton, Gillette and Peerless brands and will offer the Chinese-made Primewell brand as a price-sensitive entry-level product to replace some of the products lost in the revamp, said Tim Dunn, director of marketing operations and supply chain management for BFNT.

At the same time, BFS will refresh the product lines and size offerings within the remaining associate brands. Mr. Dunn said.

Dealers also can expect to see some pricing adjustments next year.

"In 2007, we are looking at how we can reposition our pricing on core lines to make them more competitive in the marketplace," Mr. Pacsi said at the firm's consumer dealer meeting in Las Vegas. The meeting, attended by 3,000 BFS dealers and spouses, featured the theme, “PSI Potential Sales Increase.”

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