LOS ANGELES (Nov. 14, 2016) — Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations is recharging its Firestone brand for 2017 with four new tires, in addition to a new Bridgestone product and additional sizes for its Fuzion line.
The new launches are predominantly in the light truck/SUV/CUV categories.
Company executives unveiled the tires and discussed plans for 2017 during the Nashville, Tenn.-based tire maker's Consumer Tire Business Meeting. It was held Nov. 10 before a crowd of 500, including 200 dealers and other invited guests and employees gathered at the J.W. Marriott hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
During the meeting the company also recognized past President and CEO Gary Garfield, who retired Aug. 31 and was succeeded by former Chief Operating Officer Gordon Knapp.
Mr. Garfield said Bridgestone Americas going forward “could not be in better hands.” and the “relationship with you (the dealers) could not be in better hands.”
He added: “The very best days for all of us are not behind us, they are in front of us.”
Mr. Knapp also spoke during the meeting, describing the company's dealers as an “incredible strategic asset” and “the best dealer team in the industry.”
He said dealers should not expect any knee-jerk changes in the direction of the company, as he worked side-by-side with Mr. Garfield for the past three years and had a chance to have an influence on decision-making. Rather he said he expects Bridgestone to “double down on the things working for us.”
Mr. Knapp said he wants Bridgestone Americas to be a company that understands the boss — the consumer — and to focus on high-rim diameter, or high-value tires, including those 18-inches and larger, run-flats and ultra-high-performance tires.
The company also will continue to seek additional OE fitments especially for 18 inch and larger tires, he said.
In announcing the new tires and sizes, Erik Seidel, vice president of consumer sales, U.S. and Canada, noted that Bridgestone annually spends upwards of a billion dollars on research and development.
Along with developing new products, the company also wants to cut in half the new product development cycle to 21 months, said Steve Charles, vice president of product development.
With the introduction of the new Firestone tires, Bridgestone has upgraded 56 percent of the Firestone portfolio in just the past year, according to Mr. Seidel.
The new tires are the Firestone All-Season, Transforce AT2, Destination MT/2 and Winterforce 2 and 2 UV.
In addition, the company condensed five OE application tires into one with the introduction of the Bridgestone Dueler HT 685, an action that drew dealer applause.
In announcing the new entry-level All-Season, Mr. Seidel said it will become the most affordable Firestone tire, claiming it will provide “great all-season performance for the life of the tire.”
Initial sizes will be offered beginning in March 2017, with all 49 sizes available four months later in August. This includes 32 passenger and 17 CUV sizes from 195/70R14 to P245/50R20.
The tire carries a 65,000-mile limited treadwear warranty in passenger sizes and 55,000 miles in CUV sizes.