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Bridgestone starts production at Kitakyushu Plant ahead of schedule

Bridgestone Corporation ("Bridgestone") today announced that production of large and ultralarge off-the-road radial tyres for construction and mining vehicles (“large and ultralarge ORR tyres”) began in June at its new Kitakyushu Plant, three months earlier than the planned September start of production. The Kitakyushu Plant is the first new tyre plant opened by Bridgestone in Japan since 1976, when Bridgestone began production at its Hofu Plant.
Large and ultralarge ORR tyres, which Bridgestone considers to be "strategic products," utilize the Bridgestone Group's advanced technological capabilities and have earned excellent reputations in their markets. Due to increasing global demand for and production of mineral resources, the last few years have seen a significant imbalance between the supply and demand for large and ultralarge ORR tyres. In the medium-to-long term, this demand is expected to continue to grow, and even during the current global economic recession, sales of Bridgestone large and ultralarge ORR tyres have remained stable. Because of these market conditions, Bridgestone accelerated its preparations and pushed forward the startup of the Kitakyushu Plant so that it could more rapidly meet the needs of its customers.
Previously, Bridgestone manufactured large and ultralarge ORR tyres at its Shimonoseki Plant. Now that production has begun at the Kitakyushu Plant, Bridgestone will be even better positioned to supply customers throughout the world with these technologically advanced tyres. Going forward, Bridgestone will continue to increase production capacity of large and ultralarge ORR tyres, and it expects that, by second half of 2012, the combined output of the two plants will be 30% higher than the current level.
In the future, Bridgestone will remain committed to enhancing its lineup of strategic products, including large and ultralarge ORR tyres, and will further increase its efforts to supply products that satisfy its customers.