Growing Demand Prompts Early Start of Bridgestone Kitakyushu Expansion
The second phase of expansion planned for Bridgestone’s Kitakyushu factory in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan has begun three months ahead of schedule. In October 2007 Bridgestone Corporation announced a July 2010 date for the next stage of work on the facility, which has been producing large and ultra-large off-the-road radial tyres for construction and mining vehicles since June 2009. Increasing global demand for these large and ultra-large ORR tyres, however, has now seen preparations for second phase expansion plans accelerated and the start of work brought forward to April.
Bridgestone considers large and ultra-large ORR tyres to be “strategic products”, and comments that the market for these is expected to grow in the medium to long term. Completion of the second phase of expansion is anticipated to occur by the second half of 2012. When this goal is reached, plant output – currently expected to average 30 tons per day in the second half of 2010 – should increase to 80 tons per day. The company plans to invest 29.5 billion yen (£204.7 million) in the second phase of expansion, brining total Kitakyushu plant investment to 58 billion yen (£402.5 million).