NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bridgestone Americas Inc. plans to restart its North American commercial tire plants as well as its North American Firestone Industrial Products and Firestone Building Products manufacturing facilities on April 13.
Bridgestone suspended production at its factories in North America and Latin America on March 21. At the time, the tire maker said it planned to resume normal operations during the third week of April.
The company said its start-up plans reflect the performance trend in several key areas of its commercial and diversified products businesses not as severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bridgestone Bandag's retread rubber manufacturing plants in North America resumed operations the week of March 29, due to demand by essential service providers, the company said. The company continues to work closely with its customers and partners to ensure adequate supply, while closely monitoring volatility in demand.
To ensure the health and safety of employees, plants resuming operations will do so in alignment with the latest safety protocol guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the company said.
"The start-up of our North American commercial tire and diversified products operations will allow us to meet the increasing needs of businesses who are going above and beyond to provide essential services in our communities," said Paolo Ferrari, CEO and president of Bridgestone Americas. "We are mindful of the need for Bridgestone to do its part in providing critical products and services to businesses and agencies doing so much to keep essential workers and goods moving."
Among other goods, Firestone Industrial Products is a leading manufacturer of air springs for use on commercial trucks.
Bridgestone said its passenger tire plants in North America, as well as all plants in Latin America, are scheduled to resume operations by the first week of May, with some facilities potentially opening sooner.
The company said it has sufficient supply of original equipment and consumer replacement product to meet customer demand, but continues to align supply to current market demand. The company's distribution centers, plant warehouses and logistics teams are continuing to fill orders.
Bridgestone added it is monitoring the coronavirus situation closely and adjusting response plans and operations as necessary to ensure the health and safety of its employees while also addressing the needs of customers and the market.