Outlining Bridgestone Corporation’s Mid-Long Term Business Strategy on 22 December, chief executive officer Shu Ishibashi spoke of the company’s plans through to 2023. The immediate priority has been to implement crisis management measures to address the impact of COVID-19; Bridgestone began implementing these in 2020, and the measures extend into this year. Beyond this, Bridgestone will work to rebuild earning power within the core Tire & Rubber business.
Retreading solutions lie at the heart of Bridgestone Corporation’s new Sustainability Business Framework. Announcing details of the framework’s “retread centric model”, chief executive officer Shu Ishibashi shares that the tyre maker plans to utilise tyre monitoring technologies in order to offer customised retreads via a subscription model.
Bridgestone’s CES 2021 exhibit presents a fittingly virtual exhibit this year. During the tech-focused US Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which has been held virtually this year from 11-14 January 2021, Bridgestone is presenting its Bridgestone World interactive virtual city will allow users to explore the company’s advanced solutions and data-driven mobility services. Live and on-demand showcases will examine how the company is using smart tyre technology, advanced data analytics and new business models to put tyres at the centre of a more sustainable mobility system.
Over 80 fitments, more than 30 vehicle models, 13 car manufacturers – this is Bridgestone’s tally of new original equipment fitments for 2020. The tyre maker has summarised its OE achievements in an 80-second-long video. Steven De Bock, vice-president Consumer Replacement and OE at Bridgestone EMIA, comments that it’s “fantastic that we’ve been able to work in partnership with the world’s leading car manufacturers to meet our collective environmental goals and shape a more sustainable future of mobility.”
With a new warehouse in Ancaster, Ontario, Bridgestone anticipates serving tyre dealers and customers in Canada with greater agility. The CA$65 million (£37.7 million) facility can hold up to 570,000 tyres and enables Bridgestone Canada to reduce transportation costs and shorten time-to-market for products in the country’s eastern region.
According to OECD estimates, the world will be home to more than 2.4 billion cars by 2050, around a billion more than exist today. This significant rise in the global vehicle parc will result in much higher demand for the raw materials needed to manufacture tyres. Bridgestone has turned to big data to help optimise rubber yields, and reports developing a system that leads to higher long-term yields.
Last September, Bridgestone announced it would close its tyre production facility in Béthune, France during in 2021. The municipal council of Béthune-Bruay now claims the tyre maker didn’t fully honour the commitments it agreed to back in 2007, when the municipality contributed towards a 32-million-euro investment in the plant. It is therefore demanding that Bridgestone returns the subsidies it invested.
The world’s largest cement maker, LafargeHolcim, has confirmed that it will buy Firestone Building Products from Bridgestone Americas in a US$3.4 billion deal. The sale is designed to enable Bridgestone to “strengthen investments in company’s tyre business and fast-growing mobility solutions business”, according to an official statement.
At the start of 2021, the Potenza Sport will take over from the Potenza S001 as the flagship of Bridgestone’s tyre range. Bridgestone says the new ultra-high-performance tyre possesses “excellent capabilities in both the dry and wet” as well as higher mileage potential than its predecessor. All 96 dimensions in the Potenza Sport range have an EU label ‘A’ grade for wet grip.
Bridgestone announced plans to close Béthune, France factory back in September 2020. Now, however, the location looks likely to retain a role in the broader automotive sector after the Japanese tyremaker reported that it has identified 24 opportunities relating to the future of the site. Two of the options relate the sale of the site to other tyre manufacturers. Five of the identified projects concern the installation of new activities on the site in tyre and rubber fields as well as batteries and other sectors. Two of the proposals relate to “the installation of activities outside the site”. Nine projects are said to be in the study phase.
Bridgestone, Pirelli and Yokohama have achieved places in the 2020 Climate A list prepared by the CDP (former Carbon Disclosure Project), the international non-profit organization which gathers, distributes and promotes information on environmental issues. They are the only tyre manufacturers in the global top 20 to achieve this level.
Bridgestone Corporation reports another victory in its ongoing fight against those who infringe its patent rights and nab its intellectual property. In October, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court ruled in Bridgestone’s favour in its lawsuit against Chinese tyre maker Shandong Vheal Group Co., Ltd. (Vheal).
Bridgestone has appointed Jan-Maarten de Vries and Michiel Wesseling as CEO and COO of its Bridgestone Mobility Solutions (BMS) business unit. Thomas Schmidt, the co-founder of Webfleet, will be leaving Bridgestone and his role as CEO and managing director of the BMS business unit at the end of this year. These changes are effective 1 January 2021.