SALVADOR, Brazil (Feb. 2) — Bridgestone Corp. has inaugurated production at its newest plant, a passenger and light truck tire factory in Camacari in Brazil´s state of Bahia.
The plant, Bridgestone´s second in Brazil, was built over two years at a cost of $160 million. It has capacity at start-up for 8,000 tires a day with 500 employees, according to Bridgestone Firestone do Brasil IndÃºstria e ComÃ&Copy;rcio Ltda., the Brazilian subsidiary.
The plant replaces traditional linear production with a modular system consisting of a small and compact production line, several of which can be located within a facility. This system allows for higher productivity, enhanced quality control for the entire process and expedited future expansions, according to Rioji Hirokawa, Bridgestone Firestone´s director responsible for the implementation of the Bahia project.
"The construction of this plant in Bahia is proof of Bridgestone Americas´ commitment to Brazil," said Mark A. Emkes, chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc., parent of Bridgestone Firestone Brazil. The plant will serve both domestic and export demand, he said.
At the same time, Bridgestone has spent about $100 million to modernize its other plant in Brazil, in Santo Andre near Sao Paulo. That plant makes passenger, truck/bus, agricultural and off-the-road tires.
By year-end, Bridgestone Firestone Brazil will have concluded a seven-year plan of investments in Brazil totaling $460 million.
"With this solid two-plant foundation, we are positioning ourselves in a more competitive way to meet the demand both of the Brazilian market and the Americas," said Eugenio Deliberato, president of Bridgestone Firestone Brazil.