TOKYO (Dec. 2, 2010)—Bridgestone Corp., the world's largest tire maker, plans to cut its rubber consumption by 50 percent over the next 10 years, according to a Bloomberg News report.
With rubber prices more than quadrupling in the last few years, the report said Tokyo-based Bridgestone is in the process of developing a technology that will decrease the use of both natural and synthetic rubber in each Bridgestone tire by half. The company said the technology will allow for a significant decrease in rubber use without negatively impacting quality.
The tire maker's initiative to reduce rubber costs is a global one, a spokeswoman for Bridgestone Americas told Tire Business, a sister publication of Rubber & Plastics News. “We will be a part of that initiative,” she added.
Bridgestone Corp. could not be reached for comment.
Bloomberg reported that Bridgestone will use 1.77 million metric tons of natural and synthetic rubber to produce tires in 2010—an increase of 24 percent over last year.
Bloomberg also cited a November Goldman Sachs Group Inc. report predicting that global consumption of natural rubber will surpass supply by 313,000 tons in 2010, the greatest disparity since 2006. In the report, Goldman Sachs raised its 2011 price forecast on natural rubber to $4.40 per kilogram from $3.60 and to $4.60 per kilogram in 2012 from $3.80, according to Bloomberg.