( ) is a multinational rubber conglomerate founded in 1931 by in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan. The name Bridgestone comes from a calque translation and transposition of ishibashi, meaning "stone bridge" in Japanese.
Bridgestone is currently ranked largest tire manufacturer in the
global tire market, with Michelin
fourth as of January
2009.As of the end of 2005, production facilities belonging to the
Bridgestone Group have increased to 141 spread throughout
twenty-four nations of the world. In order to attain this level of
globalization, the company established a new set of corporate
policies in the year 2001. In continuation of this, company's Brand
Vision was also established in 2003.
The very first Bridgestone tire was produced on April 9, 1930, by
the Japanese "Tabi
" Socks Tire Division
(actually made jika-tabi
). One year later
on March 1, 1931, the founder, Shojiro
, made the "Tabi" Socks tire Division independent and
established the Bridgestone Tire Co., Ltd. in the city of Kurume,
Fukuoka Prefecture. "Bridgestone" was named after the name of the
founder, Shojiro Ishibashi (Ishi
= Stone, Bashi
Foregoing dependence on European and North America technology, the
Bridgestone tire Co., Ltd. set its eyes on manufacturing tires
based solely on Japanese technology. The foundling company
experienced many difficulties in the areas of technology,
production and sales in the early days. Eventually, improvements
were achieved in quality and manufacturing processes which led to
the business rapidly expanding on both the domestic and overseas
Challenges during and after World War II
Wartime regulations were in effect throughout the whole of Japan,
and tires also came under the jurisdiction of these regulations.
This resulted in nearly all of the company's output being used to
satisfy military demand. 1945 saw the end of armed conflict, but
the company was devastated by the war. The Tokyo Headquarters
building was destroyed during an aerial bombing raid, and all
overseas assets were lost.
Fortunately, the plants in Kurume
escaped unscathed, and
production was able to recommence immediately after the war ended.
Brushing aside the problems caused by a labour union strike that
lasted for forty-six days, the foundations of the company were
further reinforced after this.
After World War II
, but its main
income was from supplying tires to its rival motorcycle makers such
and it was later
decided to cease motorcycle manufacturing.
In 1951, Bridgestone was the first company in Japan to begin
selling rayon cord tires, and a five-year project to modernize
production facilities was started. This year also saw another
Bridgestone building opened in Kyōbashi
, Tokyo, which contained the
Bridgestone Museum. Sales surpassed ten billion yen in 1953,
placing Bridgestone at the top of tire industry in Japan, and
celebrations were held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the
company's foundation in Kurume.
The sale of nylon tires was started in 1959, and work forged ahead
with the construction of the new Tokyo plant, which was opened in
1960, in order to cope with the fast-expanding market for
Radial tires and overseas expansion
The company issued shares and was listed on the stock exchange in
1961, and moved across to a new system of administration with
Shojiro Ishibashi as the chairman, and Kanichiro Ishibashi as the
president. As part of the transition across to administrative
reform, the Deming Plan in honour of W. Edwards
, which involves overall quality control activities, was
adopted, and the company was awarded the prestigious Deming Prize
in 1968. Also, additions were
built onto the Tokyo plant in 1962 to house the new Technical
Centre, and a progressive system of research and development was
established. On the product front, 1967 saw the sale of first ever
radial tire, the RD10.
Bridgestone's first overseas plant since the end of the war was
opened in Singapore in 1965, and production was also commenced in
Thailand in 1969. The 1960s for Bridgestone was an era of overseas
expansion that also included the establishment of Bridgestone
America in the United States in 1967 to act as Bridgestone's USA
representative sales branch.
A Radial Tire
At the start of the period of Japan's economic stagnation, brought
about by the first oil shock, the company was placing even more
emphasis on establishing its own technology for the manufacture of
radial tires, and it was also at this time that further domestic
plants were constructed and fitted out. Its Super Filler Radial was
placed on the market in 1978, and in 1979 the company introduced
the high-performance POTENZA radial tire, which gets its name from
the Italian word potenza which means power.
company was actively engaged in overseas expansion activities at
this time, and in addition to starting up production in Indonesia
and Iran in 1976, it was also invested in a Taiwan tire
manufacturer and purchased a tire plant and a plant for diversified
products in Australia in 1980.
The founder, Shojiro
Ishibashi, died on September 11, 1976.
On March 1, 1981, the company celebrated its 50th anniversary since
its foundation. At the same time, the company initiated activities
to strengthen its home base that supported overseas expansion
strategy with the aim of being ranked as one of the world's top
three manufacturers of rubber products. New production
facilities were also established in Thailand, India, Poland, China, the
States and other countries.
The company changed the
name from Bridgestone Tire Co., Ltd. to Bridgestone Corporation in
In 1988, Bridgestone purchased the Firestone Tire and Rubber
. Placing considerable financial and personnel resources
into rebuilding Firestone after the purchase, Bridgestone achieved
surplus annual profits for the year 1992 with BFE (Bridgestone
) and again in 1993 with BFS (Bridgestone
). The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and
Bridgestone Tire Company Ltd USA were amalgamated in 1990 and
became "Bridgestone Firestone North American Holdings
. In order to increase the Firestone subsidiary's brand
awareness, Bridgestone Firestone NAH Ltd
, re-entered the
Firestone brand into IndyCar
racing in 1995, and
in 1997 Bridgestone Corporation Japan
Bridgestone brand into F1 racing.
Bridgestone's global locations
Bridgestone has major manufacturing plants in many countries around
the world. As of 2007, Bridgestone has 57 tire plants, 98
diversified product plants, and 4 major technical centers globally.
Some of the major plants are located in:
||Liberia (raw materials)
Bridgestone Australia began as the SA Rubber Mills in 1939. In 1980
Bridgestone took over the Australian plants which were at that time
operated by the Uniroyal Tire Company. Bridgestone Australia
has three major manufacturing plants in Australia: a tire factory
located in Salisbury, South Australia (slated to close by April 2010); an Automotive
Components Division located at Edwardstown,
South Australia (operated under the BSTG company name which is a
joint venture with Toyoda Gosei); and the third plant in Dandenong,
The Dandenong plant is a manufacturer of
Bridgestone Brand (Airstep) Carpet Underlay
. Bridgestone has State Offices in all
states of Australia, and has a large number of retail outlets
across the country.
In 2002 Bridgestone Australia Ltd purchased the BANDAG Retreading
plant and its operations in Australia. Bandag Manufacturing Pty
Limited has 35 franchised Bandag dealers across Australia, New
Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Nouméa.
Bandag Manufacturing Pty Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of
Bridgestone Australia Limited, and operates under license to Bandag
Incorporated. In 2006 Bridgestone purchased Bandag Incorporated,
which is now a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation.
From the purchase in 1981, The Australian operations of Bridgestone
have been run as a publicly listed company on the Australian Stock
exchange. Bridgestone Corporation has maintained a majority share
holding. As of mid 2007 the Australian operation was delisted from
the Australian Stock exchange and became a solely owned Division of
Bridgestone Corporation (pending minority shareholder approval as
per Australian Corporate Law).
Following the cancellation on Friday, 11 May 2007 of all shares
held by minority shareholders, Bridgestone Australia Ltd. became a
wholly owned subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation of Japan. The
selective capital reduction and subsequent privatisation which cost
$49 million was approved and completed. Bridgestone Australia Ltd
was delisted from the ASX on 30 May 2007.
The decision to close Australia's last tyre manufacturing plant has
been described as the death of another of the nation's
Bridgestone's Australia and New Zealand manufacturing operations
were announced on 23 October 2009 that they were to close.
announcement affected 600 people in the Adelaide, Australia plant and a further 275 jobs in Christchurch, New Zealand.
jobs in sales, marketing and technical support have not been
Bridgestone EU has its head office in
Brussels, Belgium and was set
up in 1972. There are 7 production plants in the region
and a 32 hectare research and development centre
near Rome, Italy.
company distributes more than 25 million tires a year through 17
national sales subsidiaries and 2 distributors. They directly
employ over 12,000 people with the CEO
there are national headquarters in the following locations:
Vienna, Austria; Prague, Czech Republic; Hinnerup, Denmark; Vantaa, Finland; Fresnes, France; Bad Homburg, Germany; Athens, Greece; Budapest, Hungary; Dublin, Ireland; Milan, Italy;
Netherlands; Oslo, Norway; Warsaw, Poland; Alcochete, Portugal; Madrid, Spain; Sundsvall, Sweden; Spreitenbach, Switzerland; and Warwick, UK.
Bridgestone EU run a continent wide scheme called Truckpoint
wherein fleets can take their vehicles to any Bridgestone approved
garage throughout Europe and get Bridgestone specialist work
carried out on their tires.
no Bridgestone factories in the UK but there is a technical bay at
which tires returned by dissatisfied customers are inspected in
As part of reinforcement plans, the company purchased a plant in
Tennessee from the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, its first
manufacturing plant in North America, and started the production of
radial tires for trucks and buses in 1983. Bridgestone also has a
steel cord plant in Clarksville, TN named Bridgestone Metalpha.
Metalpha is currently ranked as the top provider in the global
steel cord market.
In May 1988, a take-over bid of America's No.2 tire manufacturer
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company was successful, and Firestone was
placed under the Bridgestone umbrella as a subsidiary company. This
purchase brought a large number of Firestone global production
sites into the Bridgestone organization. These sites included North
America, Central and South America, Europe, New Zealand and other
locations. Bridgestone also commenced production in Turkey.
Nashville-based Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. (BSAH) is the
U.S. subsidiary of the Bridgestone Corporation. BSAH and its
subsidiaries develop, manufacture and market Bridgestone,
Firestone, Dayton and associate brand tires for consumers,
automotive and commercial vehicle original equipment manufacturers,
and those in the agricultural, forestry and mining industries. The
companies also produce air springs, roofing materials, synthetic
rubber and industrial fibres and textiles and operate the world’s
largest chain of automotive tire and service centres.
Bridgestone and Formula One racing
- See also: Formula One
Bridgestone has supplied tires in Formula
since , although the company one-off produced Formula One
tires at the 1976
1977 Japanese Grand Prix
for Japanese entrants such as Kazuyoshi Hoshino
's Heros Racing
The Japanese company decided to supply tires for Formula One in
1995, backed-up by the CEO
Yoichiro Kaizaki, aiming to improve company's name value in
European market which was greatly inferior compared with Michelin
, the archrival for Bridgestone. Though it
was scheduled to enter the championship in the 1998 season
at first, this schedule
was changed to because the engineering section led by Hirohide Hamashima
has quickly advanced
development. Thus, Hiroshi
, the General Manager of Motorsport Department, also
made the best use of the experience and networks in Europe since
the Bridgestone's European F2
) and constructed
logistics for Formula One at once.
title was acquired right away in the second year, 1998 by Mika Häkkinen and McLaren-Mercedes.
users took five Drivers'
titles and five Constructors'
titles ( , – ) for the period that competed with
( – ) and
( – ). Especially, cooperation
with Scuderia Ferrari
and Michael Schumacher
functioned well in
From 2008 to 2010 Bridgestone was due to be the sole tire supplier
to the FIA Formula One World Championship. However, because
Michelin chose to conclude its Formula One tire program at the end
of the 2006 season
teams have used Bridgestone tires since the 2007 season
On November 2nd 2009 Bridgestone announced that they will not be
renewing their contract to supply tires to Formula One teams after
2010. The company said it was "addressing the impact of the
continuing evolution of the business environment"
Tire Record Table - Races Won
||1976 – 2009
The predecessors of Bridgestone began making diversified products
in the 1930s, soon after they started making tires. Today,
Bridgestone diversified operations encompass automotive components,
industrial products, polyurethane foam products, construction
materials, parts and materials for electronic equipment, bicycles
and sporting goods. Diversified business generates about one-fourth
of total sales in the Bridgestone Group.
Automotive parts are an especially large line of business for
Bridgestone in diversified operations. Bridgestone supply
automakers with vibration-isolating components, such as engine
mounts. Bridgestone also supply air springs for trucks, automobiles
and train carriages. Bridgestone market aluminium wheels and other
automotive accessories, too.
Bridgestone's industrial products span a vast range of items. They
include polyurethane foam for automotive seats and interiors, for
bedding and furniture and for insulation and sealing in appliances
and buildings; water hoses; marine hoses for loading and unloading
oil tankers; specialty precision hose products, such as wire-blade
hose for construction equipment and machine tools; conveyor belts;
and rubber tracks for crawler tractors. Additionally, they make
tires for aircraft. Their corporate
headquarters for the Bridgestone Aircraft tire division is located
The Bridgestone product line in construction and civil engineering
materials is similarly broad. Bridgestone supply Multi-Rubber
Bearings for installing in foundations to protect buildings from
earthquakes, inflatable rubber dams for managing waterways (no
longer manufactured - 2008), marine fenders for protecting wharves,
additives for pavement, waterproofing sheet, rubberized ceiling and
roofing materials, panel tanks for storing water, bath fixtures and
residential flooring, air and water systems.
Bridgestone's line of products for electronic equipment includes
precision rollers for office machines and functional films for
solar cells and plasma displays. In sporting goods, Bridgestone
market golf balls and clubs and tennis balls and rackets.
Bridgestone's line of bicycles is Japan's most extensive - see
above information re-Anchor Cycles.
Bandag Company Logo.
On December 05, 2006, Bridgestone Americas and Bandag Inc.
announced a merger
agreement which will see
Bridgestone acquire Bandag, a leading tire (mainly truck) re-treader
with over 900 franchise
dealers worldwide. Bridgestone's
president in Tokyo explained: The transaction is valued at
approximately US$1.05 billion. On 31 May 2007, Bridgestone Americas
acquired the outstanding shares
Stock for US$50.75 per share. Bandag is a world leader in the retreading
business and is based in Muscatine, Iowa.
The name of new company has become Bridgestone Bandag, LLC and Saul
Solomon has been appointed to the position of Chairman, CEO and
President of Bandag. Previously, Solomon served as Vice President
and General Counsel of BSAH. Bandag’s headquarters will remain in
The Bridgestone Cycle Co Ltd originated in 1949. It offers bicycles
under its own brand and under the Anchor brand.
At one time, Bridgestone marketed bicycles under the name
The U.S. marketing director of the Bicycle division, Grant Petersen
, developed a reputation for
resisting popular trends in the bicycle industry and instead
followed his own personal philosophy of building dependable and
comfortable bicycles. Peterson applied this approach to Rivendell Bicycle Works
Bridgestone stopped marketing bicycles in the U.S.
The company was an innovator in the nascent mountain bike scene,
designing mountain bicycles with shorter chain-stays and steeper
frame angles than was currently popular. This made the bicycle more
nimble and a better climber.
Bridgestone is currently building frames in Japan for keirin
track racing under Nihon Jitensha Shinkokai
approved standards. They are also currently producing non-NJS
frames to the Japanese market as well.
In Japan, it is known as a manufacturer of utility bicycle,
mountain bike and road bike for racing are sold by the brand of
Bridgestone Anchor only in Japan.
Bridgestone has also collaborated with Dr. Alex Moulton
to produce the Bridgestone
Bridgestone Aircraft tire
Bridgestone Aircraft tire (USA) is a manufacturer of aircraft tires
as well as retread servicing. Bridgestone America's Holdings announced in
May 2006 that it would be moving its Miami, FL aviation
operation to its new facility located in Mayodan, NC, this move
is expected to be completed by mid 2007 and will create
approximately 95 new jobs.
CEO and President of Bridgestone
Aircraft tire (USA) Joe Rayna is quoted as saying; "This move
allows us to continue to prepare for a changing market, both in
demand and in product mix, New modern aircraft, such as the Boeing
787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380, arrive fitted with new Bridgestone
technology aircraft tires, and this new facility will complement
". Bridgestone Aircraft tire (USA) has been a
major supplier of aircraft tires and retreads to the aircraft
industry for over 70 years and has sister aviation facilities in
Kong and Belgium.
Precept Golf is a division of Bridgestone, and is the brand name
under which Bridgestone's Golfing Products are marketed.Bridgestone
has been producing golf-related products since 1935. The Golf
division of Bridgestone currently produces both clubs, balls and
accessories.Along with technical developments in tire technology
came breakthroughs in golf ball technology that have led
Bridgestone to be the number one golf ball
producer in Japan.
Design and production of golf clubs followed in 1972 propelling
Bridgestone to a leadership position in the current
Bridgestone has global coverage of its golfing products with major
divisions in USA (Bridgestone Golf USA) and Australia (Bridgestone
Bridgestone e-reporter is a pan-European competition for aspiring
young sports journalists, open to all students aged 18–30, who are
in full-time education.
Now in its fifth year, Bridgestone
continues to provide up-and-coming writers with
first hand experience, interviewing GP2
drivers and issuing race reports from a European GP2 race
The 2008 competition was officially launched on 1 February 2008
with the deadline for entries at 12.00 GMT on 31 March 2008.
Bridgestone is the sole tire supplier for the GP2 series
, an open-wheeled racing championship
that is widely regarded as the feeder series for Formula One.