Bridgestone Plans New Thailand Proving Ground
Thai Bridgestone Co. Ltd has been granted official approval from the Thailand Board of Investment to establish a new proving ground. The company intends to construct a facility for the purpose of enhancing Bridgestone’s research and development capabilities in Thailand, and it is hoped this new centre will improve the speed and efficiency of testing for both the OE and aftermarket sectors. Additionally, the proving ground will also be used for both internal and external sales promotion and training and safety education activities.
Thai Bridgestone does not intend for the new facility to only serve Thailand’s domestic market. It also plans to utilise the facility for developing and evaluating tyres for the Asia and Pacific markets. The new proving ground is needed to supplement Thai Bridgestone’s current proving ground, opened in 1996 and located adjacent to the company’s Nongkhae factory, as this facility is currently struggling to keep up with future market requirements due to increasing vehicle ownership levels throughout the Asia/Pacific regions. The new and larger-scale proving ground will be suitable for the development of the next generation of high-performance tyres, which will be evaluated at the facility.
Thai Bridgestone’s new proving ground will cost approximately 1,170 million THB (£18.5 million) and will also be built near to the company’s Nongkhae plant. The 54-hectare site will contain a 3.3km long oval track capable of hosting high-speed performance evaluation as well as facilities for handling, wet performance and ride comfort evaluations. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2008.