By Patrick Raleigh, Crain News Service
NICE, France (Jan. 21, 2016) — Bridgestone Europe officials have dismissed as inaccurate recent reports in Europe that the company was delaying a planned expansion of its tire plant in Tatabanya, Hungary.
Bridgestone announced a $346 million expansion of the plant in October 2012 to boost capacity to around 6.5 million tires per year — about 18,000 tires a day.
The plant manufactures premium radial tires for passenger cars, including run-flat and UHP tires. The expansion was scheduled to be completed during the first half of 2017 and create more than 500 new jobs.
Asked recently about reports that the project was being delayed by up three years, Jake Romsholt, managing director of Bridgestone Europe's consumer business unit, said “there had been no reassessment, and [the project] is approximately on time.”
Separately, a Bridgestone spokesman said reports about a delay were likely based on a misinterpretation of a Hungarian press release intended to highlight the employment opportunities at the new facility.
Meanwhile, Mr. Romsholt, who was speaking at the recent launch of the company's DriveGuard run-flat tire in Nice, went on to say that the Hungary plant was “part of the possibilities” as a site for the production of the new tire.
The European version of Driveguard is being manufactured solely at Bridgestone's Poznan, Poland, plant, with a variant for the North American market being supplied from Japan.
This report appeared on the website of European Rubber Journal, a United Kingdom-based sister publication of Tire Business.