Further Bridgestone US expansion plans unveiled
This has been a red-letter week for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. On Wednesday the tyre maker went public with its plans to construct a large and ultra-large OTR tyre plant in South Carolina, Bridgestone’s first outside of Japan, and to increase passenger car and light truck tyre capacity at its Aiken County plant, located in the same state. A day later it announced that bus and truck tyre capacity will also be lifted; Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) said it will invest US$36.6 million to increase production capacity at its Warren County, Tennessee plant by 900 units per day.
“With increasing demand in the market, it was time for us to increase capacity to meet the needs of customers seeking world-class Bridgestone and Firestone truck and bus tyres,” stated Kurt Danielson, president, Bridgestone Americas Commercial Solutions group, BATO. “The outstanding people and facilities at our Warren County plant, as well as the long-standing partnership we have with the Warren County community and the state of Tennessee, made it the perfect location to make this investment and expand our production.”
This expansion is expected to create 50 new jobs and be complete in the first quarter of 2013. Site preparation and construction will begin in the second quarter of 2012, with construction expected to be complete by the third quarter of the same year and the installation of manufacturing equipment beginning in the following quarter. Bridgestone anticipates reaching full production in the final quarter of 2013.
Expansion at the Warren County plant is not Bridgestone’s only planned activity in Tennessee. As reported yesterday, Bridgestone intends to invest in steel cord production at the Clarksville plant run by Bridgestone Americas subsidiary Bridgestone Metalpha U.S.A., Inc. The steel cord produced in Clarksville will meet demand at the new OTR plant; the $75 million expansion project will increase the facility’s floorspace by 123,077 square feet (11,400 square metres) and create an additional 45 jobs.