TOKYO—Bridgestone Corp. will resume production at its manufacturing facilities in the Europe, Russia, Middle East, India and Africa region by the end of the month.
The tire maker said it will restart production at its plants in Bari, Italy, and Lanklaar, Belgium, on April 20. The Bethune, France, factory will open on April 21. All were idled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the company will phase out production at some of its plants across Japan, noting the "market situation and decline in demand." In all, 11 manufacturing facilities will be idled temporarily to ensure the health and safety of employees, and to respond to customer needs.
The shutdowns will occur between April 29-May 8; They are scheduled around Japan's three-day public holiday.
Bridgestone's Japanese tire production plants—located in Kurume, Fukuoka; Tokyo; Nasu, Tochigi; Hikone, Shiga; Tochigi; Amagi; Fukuoka; and Hofu, Yamaguchi—will close April 29-May 8.
The group's rubber track and hydraulic hose production in Kumamato, and hydraulic hose and push locks manufacturing unit in Seki, Gifu, will be closed on May 1-2.
In addition, a steel cord production unit in Saga will be closed between May 1- 8, Bridgestone added.
Bridgestone said its manufacturing plants in India and South Africa will remain closed for now.
Earlier this month, Bridgestone restarted all plants in Spain—Burgos, Bilbao and Puente San Miguel—as well as its plant in Ulyanovsk, Russia. Those moves, Bridgestone said, came in response increasing demand from business and customer needs, "in order to ensure adequate supply."
Most of Bridgestone's plants across North America remain idled, but the tire maker began reopening commercial tire production there on April 13.
Bridgestone said it continues to follow the guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and government regulations in the countries in which it operates. Additionally, it has implemented "thorough procedures and checklists" in accordance with its protocols for the prevention of occupational hazards to ensure social distancing and adequate protection of its workforce.
Bridgestone said it continues to monitor the health situation and the fluctuation in demand for its products very closely.
European Rubber Journal contributed to this report.