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Bridgestone to close Italy car tire plant

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BRUSSELS, Belgium—Bridgestone Corp. will close its passenger tire plant in Bari, Italy, by early 2014 in line with the company's increased emphasis on premium-segment products.

The plant, opened by Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in 1962, makes predominantly low-range car tires, a segment that increasingly is being served by imports from companies based in emerging nations, which have cost-competitive advantages, Bridgetone said.

The plant produces approximately 21,000 tires a day with 950 employees.

Bridgestone also has tire factories in France, Hungary, Poland and Spain.

The decision follows an in-depth analysis by the tire maker of the structural changes that have taken place over the last two years in the tire market both in Europe and globally, the company said.

Bridgestone did not disclose any estimates as to costs or cost-savings associated with the closing.

According to independent external sources and in-depth analysis cited by Bridgestone, the demand in the European Union for the types of tires made at Bari dropped 13 percent in 2011 with no recovery to pre-2011 volume foreseen before 2020.

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