Bridgestone Americas, Inc. Business Report FY ended Dec. 2012

Business Highlights

Financial Overview

(in billion JPY)
  FY ended Dec. 31, 2012 FY ended Dec. 31, 2011 Rate of change (%) Factors
Sales 13,309 12,886 3.3 -In North America, unit sales of passenger and light truck tires remained unchanged compared to fiscal 2011. Total unit sales of tires for trucks and buses decreased due to a decline in the sales of replacement tires.
Operating income 923 619 49.1


-In 2012, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (BATO) announced that its new 20-inch Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS tire is standard original equipment on the all-new 2013 Cadillac XTS Platinum Collection luxury sedan. The same high performance tire is also available as an optional upgrade on the Premium Collection version of General Motor's new vehicle in the Cadillac passenger car lineup. The Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS underwent more than two years of development prior to being released, and will be manufactured at BATO's facility in Wilson, North Carolina, the U.S. The tire size is P245/40R20 95V. (From a press release on August 20, 2012)

-In 2012, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (BATO) presented the Firestone brand's fuel efficient trademark, Fuel Fighter. The mark was introduced in the OE market in 2011 on the Toyota "Camry" (Affinity Touring S4; size P205/65R16 94S) and the Honda "Civic" (Firestone Affinity; size P195/65R15 89H). (From a press release on January 24, 2012)


R&D Activities

-In 2012, the Company announced that recent research conducted by Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) has produced promising results indicating that the Russian Dandelion can become a commercially viable, renewable source of tire-grade rubber. Russian Dandelion, the roots of which contain natural rubber, is a perennial plant indigenous to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Bridgestone Americas is taking part in the Russian Dandelion project being led by PENRA - the Program for Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives - based at the Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Bridgestone subsidiaries will conduct additional testing on Russian Dandelion-harvested natural rubber at their technical labs in Akron, Ohio and Tokyo, Japan this summer, with larger scale testing to follow in 2014. (From a press release on May 17, 2012)

R&D Facilities

-In 2012, the Company announced that locations for a guayule research farm and associated process research center have been selected in the U.S. The company is looking to introduce the new bio-based material as an alternative to natural rubber derived from the Hevea tree. This project is being accomplished by Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO). BATO has completed acquisition of a 281-acre agricultural site in Eloy, Arizona, to serve as the base of its agricultural research operation. This research farm, whose groundbreaking is anticipated in the third quarter of 2012, will supply guayule for the company's process research center that is planned for nearby Mesa, Arizona. The process research center will be home to a staff of 32 researchers and technicians and to the process that converts the guayule shrub into tire-grade rubber. Groundbreaking for the research center is planned to take place in early 2013. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2014, with trial rubber production starting in 2015. (From a press release on August 2, 2012)

-In 2012, the Company announced that it has opened its new Americas Technical Center in Akron, Ohio, the U.S. The 100 million USD facility houses 450 employees. (From a press release on April 11, 2012)

Technical Center Akron, Ohio, USA
Proving Ground Fort Stockton, Texas, USA
Proving Ground Columbiana, Ohio, USA
Proving Ground Acuna, Mexico
Proving Ground San Pedro, Brazil

Investment Activities


-In 2012, Bridgestone Corporation announced that it will reorganize the production network of dies used for tire production with the aim of strengthening competitiveness in the domestic market. Manufacturing of dies requiring quick delivery and dispatching related technical information will be conducted exclusively in domestic facilities, while other types of dies will be supplied from overseas sites in Thailand and China. Domestic production of dies is now being conducted at plants in Tokyo and Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture. Production at the Tokyo plant will be transferred to the Kurume plant and overseas facilities in Thailand and China. Production at the Kurume Plant will be dedicated to products that require short lead times or advanced technical skills, partly to prevent flow out of technical intelligence from overseas facilities. The transfer from the Tokyo Plant is scheduled to begin in July this year and complete by June 2013. Bridgestone intends to construct a highly efficient and flexible procurement and production structure on a global scale. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on May 30, 2012)