Bridgestone Australia Optimistic About 2009 Despite Downturn
Bridgestone Australia is not allowing itself to be drawn into speculation over the future of its factory in Salisbury, South Australia, and instead has expressed its optimism about 2009. Following news published by Australia based business information analyst IBIS World that tyre manufacturing is an industry in which job losses are most likely this year, Bridgestone’s public relations company Michels Warren said the tyre maker “did not want to add any weight to the story”, and released a statement saying the company remained positive about this coming year.
“The current economic conditions are causing many consumers to retain their vehicles rather than renew,” read the statement, extracts of which were published in the Adelaide Advertiser. “We believe this presents tyre retailers with a significant opportunity, as consumers will need to maintain these vehicles for longer – including fitting new tyres.”
The Salisbury factory, which employs around 600 workers in the production of passenger car tyres, is the last tyre manufacturing facility operating in Australia. As comments Colin Fenney, acting state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, 2009 will be a challenging year. “It is always a vulnerable industry and the workers would be looking for some surety, because they would definitely be concerned,” he said. “It would be good if we could get a commitment (regarding the factory) but in all of these industries no one is prepared to put their head on the chopping block and promise anything.”