Bridgestone Firestone to build new tire plant in Latin America

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To meet the growing demand for tires in Brazil and other markets in Latin America, Bridgestone Firestone do Brasil Industria e Comercio Ltda. (BFBR) will invest more than $160 million to build a new tire production facility in the State of Bahia.

The new plant will initially produce about 8,000 passenger and light truck tires per day, increasing BFBR’s production capacity in Brazil by roughly 25%.

In addition to the new facility, the company is planning to invest more than $100 million to modernize its Santo André tire production facility. The Santo André plant manufactures passenger, truck and bus, agricultural and off-road tires, producing more than 30,000 tires a day.

The construction of the new plant in Camaçari Industrial Pole (State of Bahia) will begin in 2005, with production set to begin in late 2006.

The new plant will utilize state-of-the-art production technologies and is expected to create more than 500 new manufacturing jobs and 1,200 indirect jobs in the region.

"This substantial new investment is evidence of our optimism in the strength of the Brazilian economy and our belief in our Brazilian teammates," said Jorge Gonzalez, president, Bridgestone Firestone Latin American Operations, Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. "This investment will help us solidify in Brazil the leadership position in technology, quality and customer service that the Bridgestone family of companies has earned worldwide," Gonzalez continued.

The State of Bahia has a strong industrial infrastructure, the company says. "We are very grateful to the government leaders on all levels who have assisted us in selecting the right location for this facility," said Eugenio Deliberato, president, BFBR.

"There has been great cooperation and support for this project. This is a winner for everyone. Our Santo André facility will be modernized, our new plant in the State of Bahia will create hundreds of good paying jobs in the region and our company will be better prepared to meet the growing needs of the Brazilian and Latin American tire market," Diliberato concluded.

BFBR has been producing and selling passenger, light truck, truck and bus, agricultural and off-road tires in Brazil for more than 80 years. The company also operates a state-of-the-art proving grounds and technical center, both of which serve the needs of the Bridgestone Americas’ Latin American tire businesses.

BFBR is a unit of Bridgestone Firestone Latin American Operations, a division of Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc.

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