WILLIAMSBURG, Ky.—Electric vehicle growth is spurring demand for Firestone Industrial Products L.L.C.'s air springs, and the company is positioning itself to meet that demand, using a $50 million investment to bulk up production capacity in Kentucky.
A subsidiary of Nashville-based Bridgestone Americas Inc., FSIP said May 27 that it plans to expand its 32-year-old, 375,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility in Williamsburg. The move will add 68,000 square feet to the existing facility, adding 250 jobs once the expansion is complete in December 2022.
According to a news release issued by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, the FSIP facility in Williamsburg—located in Whitley County—currently employs more than 500 and manufactures 4 million parts annually.
"With the increase in vehicle electrification, Firestone air suspension systems are in high demand among the most innovative and forward-thinking original equipment manufacturers globally," Emily Poladian, president of Firestone Industrial Products, said in a statement.
In addition to improving ride comfort and handling, Firestone air suspensions can increase electric vehicle range and help protect batteries from road impact and overheating, the company said in a news release.
"Firestone air suspensions are optimally designed with electric vehicles in mind," Poladian said. "Compared to traditional coil spring suspensions, our air suspensions are designed to help improve the handling and comfort of heavier electric vehicles and can even help improve EV range by lowering the vehicle to help improve aerodynamics."
The products designed by Firestone achieve these properties because of the expertise the company has, rooted in a decades-long experience in designing and supplying parts to commercial manufacturers throughout North America.
FSIP manufactures air springs and related products for a number of applications including commercial trucks and trailers, passenger vehicles, motor homes, buses, agricultural equipment, rail and industrial applications.
"This company has been an important corporate partner in our state for decades, and this investment by Firestone in support of the emerging electric vehicle market ensures that will continue to be the case for years to come," Beshear said in a statement. "Thank you to the company's leadership for furthering their commitment to Kentucky."