Bridgestone Firestone Opens Second Brazilian Plant
Bridgestone’s Brazilian subsidiary, Bridgestone Firestone do Brasil Indústria e Comércio Ltda., has inaugurated its second Brazilian facility, approximately two years after the announcement of plans to invest in the State of Bahia. Built to meet both domestic and export demand, the 7-hectare plant will focus on the production of car and light truck tyres and is set to directly generate 500 jobs, with a further 1,200 or so jobs expected to be generated in related fields.
The facility began phasing-in manufacturing operations during January, and production will be gradually expanded until it reaches a daily production of 8,000 tyres. This volume is expected to be reached in the second half of 2007.
The Bahia plant utilizes new Bridgestone Corporation technology that replaces traditional linear production with a modular system consisting of a small and compact production line, several of which can be located within a facility. According to Rioji Hirokawa, director responsible implementing the Bahia project, this system allows for higher productivity, enhanced quality control throughout the entire process and expedited future expansions. “In addition to a higher quality industrial process, an expansion of or readjustment in a module will not affect the rest of the production,” remarked Hirokawa.
“The construction of this plant in Bahia is proof of Bridgestone Americas’ commitment to Brazil,” stated Mark A. Emkes, Chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., parent company of Bridgestone Firestone Brazil. “Tyres with a sophisticated design and innovative technology will be shipped from the Bahia plant to meet worldwide consumers’ needs as well as those of local consumers.”
By the end of 2007, Bridgestone Firestone Brazil will have concluded a seven-year US$460 million investment plan in Brazil, which includes building the new plant and modernizing production at the company’s existing Santo André facility. “With this solid two-plant foundation, we are positioning ourselves in a more competitive way to meet the demand both of the Brazilian market and the Americas,” said Eugenio Deliberato, president of Bridgestone Firestone Brazil.