JOLIETTE, Quebec (Aug. 19, 2016) — Bridgestone Canada Inc. has broken ground on the previously announced $250 million, five-year expansion of capacity at its 50-year-old Joliette car and light truck tire plant.
Bridgestone announced plans in February for the project, which calls for boosting capacity nearly 18 percent to 20,000 units a day by 2023.
The investment will involve installing “technologically advanced” equipment to support a shift in the plant's product mix to 18- to 22-inch SKUs, Bridgestone said, from the current 15- to 18-inch mix.
The ground-breaking was part of 50th anniversary celebrations at the plant, which was opened in 1966 by Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. and reached a milestone of 150 million tires produced in 2014, Bridgestone said.
Its employment of 1,300 makes it the largest private employer in Quebec's Lanaudière region, just northeast of Montreal. The plant's workers are represented by the Syndicat des Travailleurs de Bridgestone/Firestone de Joliette.
The ceremony was hosted by Robert Verreault, plant manager, and included several Bridgestone executives, led by Gordon Knapp, chief operating officer, Bridgestone Americas Inc. and chairman, CEO and president, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations; Jan Steinmetz, chief human resources officer, Bridgestone Americas; Barry Owens, vice president, manufacturing, BATO; and Mitch Burke, executive director, consumer manufacturing, BATO.
Other attendees included Gabriel Ste-Marie, Joliette federal deputy; and Alain Beaudry, mayor of the City of Joliette.
“I'd like to congratulate the Joliette teammates and retirees on their hard work and contributions to the plant's success,” Mr. Knapp said. “With its long-standing relationship to the Joliette community, as well as its commitment to environmental best practices, I know this plant will continue to showcase the values and priorities of Bridgestone Americas for many years to come.”