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Bridgestone to make more tires at Brazilian plant

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CAMACARI, Brazil—Bridgestone Americas Inc. is committing $77 million through mid-2015 to expand capacity for car, light truck and agricultural radials at two plants in Brazil in response to rising domestic demand for the products.

The car and light truck tire expansion will take place at Bridgestone do Brasil Industria e Comercio Ltda.'s Camacari plant, where capacity will be boosted by roughly 25 percent to more than 10,000 tires a day and will create about 100 jobs, Bridgestone said.

“We are investing in key market segments, and the growing ultra-high-performance and light truck/SUV tires categories will be the first to benefit from this capacity expansion,” said Ariel Depascuali, president of Bridgestone do Brasil.

“Over the long term, the versatility and flexibility of the Bahia plant will help the company address direct customer needs by improving fill rates of these tires,” Depascuali added.

The expansion will support both the original equipment and replacement markets in Brazil.

“New auto plants from new entrants, continued investment from auto companies already operating in Brazil and the government's Inovar Auto Program are indications that this market has much potential,” said Lino Beltrami Neto, industrial director of the Bahia plant. “Both the original equipment market and the aftermarket will likely remain heated.”

Bridgestone opened the Camacari plant in 2007 after an investment of $160 million.

The remaining $14 million is being invested at Bridgestone do Brasil's plant in Santo Andre to double daily capacity for radial farm tires to 60 units by July 2015.

With this investment, Bridgestone is looking to build higher performance radial tires to meet increasing demand, satisfy heavier load requirements and/or reduce soil compaction issues. The company initially will enable the addition of six new AGR tires in its production mix.