Lower domestic demand prompts Japan’s tyre makers to look abroad
Japan’s Jiji Press writes that the country’s tyre makers are increasingly moving production offshore to escape diminishing sales at home. According to the news service, a shrinking domestic market and an aging population are teaming up with the high yen to decrease demand for Japanese-produced tyres. As a result of this, a number of Japanese tyre manufacturers have shifted production overseas to locations where demand is higher.
Bridgestone, says Jiji Press, plans to invest 24 billion yen (£194.5 million) by 2015 increasing its presence in emerging economies. The company will boost production capacity at its two Chinese passenger car tyre plants by 50 per cent and build a second facility in India. In addition, Jiji quotes a ‘senior Bridgestone official’ as saying the tyre maker is “considering entry into the Russian market.”
Sumitomo Rubber Industries is reported as having plans to increase production capacity at its two passenger car tyre factories in Thailand 2.3 –fold by 2014 (compared with 2010 levels). The company hopes the boost, together with a potential expansion into India and Brazil, will raise overseas production from 44 per cent of its total (as of March 2012) to 60 per cent in 2015.
Yokohama Rubber, the first Japanese tyre maker to establish a production facility in Russia, intends to produce 1.4 million tyres there by next summer. Jiji quotes a ‘senior official’ as saying Yokohama is also “considering exporting tyres to Europe (from Russia) in the future.”
As for Toyo Tire & Rubber, the company is said to be setting up a supply base in Malaysia for export to Southeast Asian countries as part of a 20 billion yen (£162.1 million) investment plan.