HAI PHONG CITY, Vietnam—Bridgestone Corp.'s subsidiary in Vietnam has inaugurated production at the company's newest tire plant, in Hai Phong City, which the firm said will become a key source of tires for North America, Europe and Japan when fully operational.
Bridgestone Tire Manufacturing Vietnam L.L.C. began limited production of radial passenger tires in April, Bridgestone said, but the company held a grand-opening ceremony this week to commemorate the plant's status.
Bridgestone budgeted $457 million in 2012 to build the plant, then committed an additional $425 million in late 2013 to expand the factory's capacity while it was being built.
The plant, situated on a 250-acre plot in Hai Phong City's Dinh Vu Industrial Zone is expected to reach a daily capacity of 10,000 tires by the end of 2014, Bridgestone said, with 1,100 employees. Capacity should increase to 25,000 tires a day by the first half of 2016 and then nearly double to 49,000 a day by the second half of 2017.
Employment is slated to hit 1,900 to coincide with the expansion to 25,000 tires, Bridgstone said, and then to 3,800 in the final phase.
The opening ceremony was attended by guests from the Vietnam government, Hai Phong City, the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam, and related automotive companies.
“Bridgestone expresses our sincere gratitude to the government of Vietnam, Hai Phong City and all cooperating members, for allowing us to make BTMV a reality,” said Masaaki Tsuya, CEO and chairman of board at Bridgestone Corp.
“BTMV will produce products in line with our corporate philosophy of ‘Serving Society with Superior Quality,' and will strive to develop our business and contribute to the local community in Vietnam.”
Teruo Kunitake, general director of BTMV, said BTMV has been growing, with most of the firm's 1,100 employees Vietnamese. The plant is increasing its manufacturing output on a daily basis, according to Kunitake.