Bridgestone-Toyo alliance will focus on production

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Tire production technology development, including the mutual licensing of technology, will be a primary function of Bridgestone Corp. and Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd.'s business and capital alliance.

The companies plan to license component preparation and small lot production technologies to one another.

"In terms of medium to long-term initiatives, the companies will work on the joint development of new production methods," say Bridgestone officials.

Other initiatives the firms will jointly undertake include:

1. Raw material and equipment procurement.

2. "Cross production" of radial passenger tires at Bridgestone's Latin American plants and Toyo's factory in White, Ga.

3. Boosting manufacturing flexibility "through the creation of complementary production systems. The companies will implement cross production of radial tires for trucks and buses."

4. Mutual utilization of warehouses.

Also in an effort to improve distribution, Bridgestone and Toyo will use "round trip transportation" to move products, according to Bridgestone officials.

Bridgestone and Toyo announced their alliance in May 2008. As part of the agreement, Bridgestone gained an 8.72% stake in Toyo after it received 20 million shares of newly issued Toyo stock.

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