Bridgestone Corp. is investing $90 million through September 2009 to expand capacity for ultra-high-performance (UHP) tires at its Bridgestone Firestone de Mexico S.A. de C.V. subsidiary's Cuernavaca plant .
The project, meant to satisfy growing demand from the U.S., will boost UHP capacity an undisclosed amount to 4,000 units a day, the company said, and create more than 200 jobs at the plant, where employment is 850.
The new capacity will be primarily for UHP tires with rim diameters of 16 to 22 inches, the company said.
The 28-year-old plant's nameplate car and light truck tire capacity is 15,500 units a day.
The announcement coincides with the closing of the company's 50-year-old light and medium truck tire plant in Mexico City.
That plant, which to a large degree still made bias-ply tires, is hemmed in by residential growth and couldn't be expanded, company spokespersons said.
The project also coincides with Group Michelin's decision to cancel plans to build a $740 million car and light truck tire plant in Guajinito, Mexico, citing reduced demand and efficiency improvements at its other North American factories.
Bridgestone/Firestone's other plant in Mexico is the year-old, highly automated plant in Monterrey that features Bridgestone Corp.'s proprietary BIRD (Bridgestone Innovative and Rational Development) manufacturing system.
That plant, built at a cost of $220 million, has a nameplate capacity of 8,000 units a day and 200 employees.