Sep 22, 2011 NASHVILLE, Tenn.

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations to Increase Truck and Bus Tire Production at Warren County Plant

Expansion is one of several investments by Bridgestone Americas in U.S. manufacturing totaling more than $1.2 billion and expected to create more than 900 U.S. jobs

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) announced today it will invest $36.6 million in its Warren County, Tenn., plant to increase production capacity by an additional 900 truck and bus tires per day. The expansion is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2013 and is projected to create 50 new jobs.

The investment is part of a comprehensive expansion in U.S. manufacturing operations announced yesterday by Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM), BATO’s parent company. To meet the growing global demand for off-road radial tires, the company announced it will build a new off-road radial plant in Aiken County, S.C. It also announced a substantial increase in production capacity at its existing passenger and light truck tire plant in Aiken County. All together, these projects combined with the new investments in the Warren County plant represent an investment of more than $1.2 billion in Bridgestone Americas’ U.S. manufacturing operations and are expected to create more than 900 new jobs in the next nine years.

In addition, Bridgestone Metalpha U.S.A., Inc. (BMU), a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation and an affiliate of BATO, announced yesterday that its Clarksville, Tenn., plant will begin producing the off-road radial steel cord needed for the tires to be produced at the new Aiken County plant. The associated $75 million investment will expand the plant’s size by 123,077 square feet and create an additional 45 jobs in that community.

“With increasing demand in the market, it was time for us to increase capacity to meet the needs of customers seeking world-class Bridgestone and Firestone truck and bus tires,” said Kurt Danielson, President, Bridgestone Americas Commercial Solutions group, BATO. “The outstanding people and facilities at our Warren County plant, as well as the long-standing partnership we have with the Warren County community and the state of Tennessee, made it the perfect location to make this investment and expand our production.”

“I want to thank Bridgestone Americas for their continued reinvestment in Warren County and Tennessee. Our Jobs4TN strategy focuses on expanding existing businesses in-state, and Bridgestone Americas is providing jobs while also demonstrating a commitment to improving the quality of the community itself,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said.

“Site preparation and construction in Warren County will begin in the second quarter of 2012. Construction is expected to be complete by the third quarter of 2012, and the manufacturing equipment will begin to be installed in the fourth quarter of the same year. The additional production is expected to commence at the end of the first quarter of 2013, reaching full production in the fourth quarter of that year.

“This major expansion in Warren County and the creation of new high-quality jobs underscores the success we are enjoying with the governor's emphasis on growing existing Tennessee businesses. I congratulate Bridgestone on expanding its footprint as a flagship Tennessee company,” said Bill Hagerty, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. “I have enjoyed the close working relationship with Bridgestone CEO and President Gary Garfield and the entire Bridgestone team and look forward to celebrating many more successes in the future.”

The Warren County facility, which began operations in 1990, earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008, becoming the first tire plant in the world to do so. LEED is awarded internationally to buildings for excellent energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and resource stewardship. It is rarely awarded to existing manufacturing sites. Warren County along with BATO’s Aiken County, S.C., plant are the first two – and so far only – LEED-certified tire plants in the world.

The Warren County facility has also been recognized as an OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star site. VPP status is awarded to companies that have comprehensive safety and health programs with injury rates below the industry’s national average.

The Warren County BATO and Clarksville BMU facilities are just part of the global Bridgestone Group’s presence in Tennessee. The state is also home to the headquarters of BSAM and BATO in Nashville; BATO’s LaVergne truck and bus tire facility and Lebanon distribution center; the Firestone Industrial Products Company, LLC (FSIP) Dyersburg facility; Bridgestone Corporation’s Bridgestone APM (BAPM) Dickson facility; and 54 company-owned retail locations. All together, the Bridgestone family of companies has invested more than $1.5 billion in manufacturing and distribution facilities and employs nearly 4,000 people in the state of Tennessee.