Bridgestone’s New Premium – a global brand & streamlined manufacturing
Vehicle manufacturers have built a wide spectrum of models upon common platforms for years now, so why not do the same with tyres? Bridgestone Corporation sees the value in sharing modular components across tyre lines and is making something called BCMA one of the foundations of its New Premium strategy. It will market tyres resulting from this strategy under a global brand name and, from 2023, promote this brand via reactivated motorsport activities.
BCMA – Bridgestone Commonality Modularity Architecture – divides the tyre into three modules: The Carcass or casing, the Belt and the Tread. Adopting BCMA principles involves sharing the Carcass and Belt modules between product lines but creating a point of difference between them by customising the Tread’s performance. Put simply, the factors determining whether a tyre is particularly grippy or energy efficient are only skin deep.
The tyre maker says BCMA lends itself to more easily customisable products for individual clients and will also lead to reduced CO2 emissions and greater efficiency in resource usage.
BCMA & Enliten
During an earnings call on 16 February, Bridgestone chief executive officer Shuichi Ishibashi confirmed the company has no intention to increase production volumes in the lower-margin commodity segment and instead aims to pursue “both higher price and higher volume in the premium zone.” New Premium is the name Bridgestone gives to this plan to combat macroeconomic changes with a more intensive focus upon the “relatively resilient” premium segment.
“Based on BCMA, we will contribute to build the Enliten business strategy for passenger cars, the New Premium in EV era, supporting the realisation of a carbon neutral mobility society from the ground up,” said Ishibashi. The rollout of New Premium will build upon Bridgestone’s existing efforts in the passenger car tyre market, a segment where it anticipates premium products accounting for more than 50 per cent of global sales in 2023.
Driving premium to a higher level
Bridgestone also intends to reinforce its premium focus in other areas to meet demand for circular business solutions. “We will start the creation of New Premium at full scale,” stated Ishibashi, explaining that the Enliten business strategy will be the “core” for New Premium in both the passenger vehicle and truck/bus tyre markets whilst Bridgestone will employ its MasterCore strategy for off-highway tyres. “By evolving technology, production, products and business models, and by building new brand power as new core competencies, we will drive the premium tyre business to an even higher level.”
Bridgestone will harness BCMA “in ways adapted to the needs and market characteristics of each region” where it manufactures tyres. For Europe, it intends to “realise the simple development and production of diverse products.” The company hasn’t yet shared how this will impact upon its R&D and production activities within the region, but in a recent presentation referred to plans for greater synergies between Europe, the Americas and Japan/Asia, and to make Japan its “core of manufacturing” for numerous products, including “premium passenger car / truck and bus tyres.”
A new global brand
Beginning with Potenza in 1979, Bridgestone has established seven premium global brands for its car and two-wheeler tyre ranges. Enliten is to be the eighth. The rollout of new technologies under the New Premium banner will be accompanied by efforts to “build a sustainable global premium brand.” Shuichi Ishibashi referred to the building of this “new global brand power” as the “last piece in the creation of New Premium” and stressed that Enliten will be “at the core” of this.
One way it will build this new premium brand is through motorsport. With 2023 marking the 60th anniversary of Bridgestone’s first participation in motorsport, the chief executive officer promised a “reactivation of activities in a new way” during the year, with these activities “facing sustainability at the core.”