Bridgestone Holding Onto All Long-Term Goals
In 2009 Japan’s Bridgestone Corporation posted its first loss since 1931. The financial crisis and recession had strongly impacted upon the previously profitable Japanese home market and triggered the company’s implementation of a number of restructuring measures, notably in Oceania, where the closing of its plants in New Zealand and Australia closed the book on new tyre production in both countries. Furthermore, at the end of the current season the tyre major’s 14-year association with Formula One will come to an end. The decisive factor behind this decision was the cost and the exit of Toyota and Honda from the series, yet it can also be said that the company’s goal – increasing the Bridgestone brand’s recognition and profile – has already been reached. In this respect, remaining with Formula One would not deliver very much more and thus cannot be justified in terms of the enormous costs involved. Ecclestone & Co. also may have done nobody a favour when they decided to go with a sole tyre supplier, thereby eliminating any competitiveness from the equation.
While conditions are currently harsh, Bridgestone is however, in true Japanese fashion, still pursuing all its long-term goals. The Group aspires to hold the global number one position in terms of sales and profits and achieve market leadership in the area of technology, all while being viewed as number one in the eyes of customers. Bridgestone has already reached its goal for turnover and even if it didn’t make it in terms of profit in 2009 there is no reason for others to gloat – the company maintains a very strong balance sheet and is considered very healthy financially.