Bridgestone Americas breaks ground on new Mexican plant

April 20, 2005

Top executives from Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. (BSAH), Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) and Bridgestone Firestone Mexico S.A. de C.V. (BFMX) joined federal, state and local representatives from the Mexican government to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new $220 million tire manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

It will produce high performance, ultra-high performance and large rim diameter passenger and light truck tires, primarily for the North American tire market. Production capacity will be about 8,000 tires per day and it will employ approximately 200 people.

The new plant, to be operated by a new sister company to BFMX known as Bridgestone Neumaticos de Monterrey S.A. de C.V., will be the first outside Japan to use “BIRD,” Bridgestone Corp.’s new tire production system.

BIRD, which stands for "Bridgestone Innovative and Rational Development," completely automates all stages of tire manufacturing, from the initial processing of materials to final inspection of the finished product.

BIRD also is capable of producing several different types and sizes of tires simultaneously, allowing for great flexibility and the ability to be responsive to customer needs. The first full production installation of the BIRD system occurred this year at Bridgestone Corp.’s Hikone plant in Japan.

Once completed, the new facility will be the 49th tire plant in the global Bridgestone Group of companies, and the third such plant located in Mexico. The two existing plants are located in Mexico City and Cuernavaca.