CYPRESS, Calif. (Nov. 24, 2008) — Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. will make up to 300,000 Bridgestone- and/or Firestone-brand passenger/light truck tires annually at its plant in White, Ga., starting next year as part of the recent “business alliance” between its parent Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. and Bridgestone Corp.
At the same time, Bridgestone will make up to 1 million passenger/light truck tires a year for Toyo at its plants in Mexico and Brazil, starting in 2010, allowing Toyo to expand its business in Mexico and establish a foothold in Brazil, where import duties have kept the firm's presence to a minimum, according to Carlos Kibata, president of Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc.
Toyo already has a measurable presence in Mexico with its Toyo and Nitto brands, Mr. Kibata said, but in Brazil import duties limit Toyo to only higher-priced high-performance tires. Toyo likely will establish a sales company there to coincide with the start of local production, he added.
Globally, Toyo said the business alliance should generate up to $110 million in cost savings over the next three years for Toyo from productivity improvements, investment reductions and development efficiences.
The alliance calls for Bridgestone and Toyo to work together in five key business areas, including producing tires for each other at selected plants, jointly developing advanced production methods and purchasing of raw materials and equipment jointly.
In the U.S., the companies have yet to settle on which tire lines Toyo will make for Bridgestone, but production is slated to begin in the first half of next year.
The deal will allow Toyo to make better use of the capacity in place at the White plant, where the equipment is being reconfigured to produce more broadline tires, Mr. Kibata said. He added that the reason for the production shift is due to declining demand for larger diameter SUV-type tires.