EASTWOOD, Australia (Oct. 23, 2009)—Bridgestone Australia Ltd. is closing tire plants in Australia and New Zealand, the last tire manufacturing sites in those nations.
The unit of Japan's Bridgestone Corp. said tire production in both countries isn't viable because of international competitive forces. The shutdown at the passenger, light truck, and truck and bus tire plant in a suburb of Adelaide, Australia, will cost 600 jobs, and 275 employees will be affected at the Christchurch, New Zealand, auto and light truck tire facility.
Bridgestone Australia said continued efforts to improve cost competitiveness at the factories wasn't enough to save them. The firm is offering support services to help the employees, in conjunction with the relevant government departments, unions and other agencies, to assist with alternative employment opportunities, either within Bridgestone or elsewhere.
The company also employs more than 1,500 others in distribution, customer service and retail networks. They won't be affected by the closings.
The New Zealand factory will shut down by the end of the year. It opened in 1948 and has the capacity to produce 4,400 tires a day.
The Australian unit—located in a suburb of Adelaide in South Australia—opened in 1965 and could produce as many as 11,050 tires daily.
Goodyear closed its Somerton, Australia, plant in June, leaving Bridgestone as the only other tire maker in the region.