You are here: Home › A global brand with a significant local impact

A global brand with a significant local impact

   Jun 27, 2019
Credit : GMI Post

Eighty-eight years since its founding in Japan, Bridgestone Corp. has become the world’s largest tire manufacturer, with 180 production and R&D facilities in 27 countries. Among the many milestones that propelled the Japanese company to its current position was its merger with Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in 1988.

Bridgestone Americas CEO and President Gordon Knapp

In 2018, approximately one out of every four passenger cars sold in the United States and Canada were rolled out with Bridgestone or Firestone tires. From its 30-story headquarters in downtown Nashville, Bridgestone Americas employs 2,200 people in the city alone, while across the U.S., Bridgestone Americas employs more than 38,000 people.

“We also saw real strength in our commercial truck and bus radial tires. They were up 9 percent year-on-year, which is strong, particularly in a relatively large, but mature market,” Bridgestone Americas CEO and President Gordon Knapp said.

In 2018, Bridgestone Americas announced a three-year, $40 million expansion of its truck and bus radial tire manufacturing facility in Morrison, Warren County, Tennessee in anticipation of growing demand. The company also performed very well in the sales of its off-road, construction and mining tires, many of which are produced in Trenton, Aiken County, South Carolina.

“The Bridgestone Aiken County Off-Road Tire Plant is absolutely critical to our growth. Four years ago, it wasn’t producing any giant mining tires. Now, it’s a key contributor not only in North America, but also globally, as we export those tires around the world in coordination with Bridgestone in Japan,” Knapp said.

Over several years, Bridgestone has consistently raised its investment in its original equipment technology to support its efforts to further boost sales. Through this, the U.S. affiliate company expects to see stronger sales of replacement tires, particularly those made in its Aiken County, South Carolina and Wilson County, North Carolina plants.

Bridgestone is committed to building a workforce that is as diverse as the customers it serves.

Focusing on efficient solutions for mobility, another factor of Bridgestone’s global leadership is the group’s underlying commitment to research and development.

“Our success is a reflection of our investments over a long period of time. It also reflects strong global coordination by our Bridgestone Americas team with other regions around the world,” Knapp said.

As a result of nearly $1 billion annually invested in R&D, Bridgestone has produced new products and technological value-added innovations, such as high rim diameter tires and run-flat tires.

“More than a decade ago, tires were between 15 and 16 inches in height. Today, Bridgestone produces larger passenger tires with heights of as much as 18 to 22 inches. Meanwhile, our run-flat tires will continue to run for up to 50 miles after a flat tire occurs, giving drivers a chance to safely extend their mobility,” Knapp said.

These trends can mainly be seen in North America and Europe.

“We have nurtured our assets and advantages over time to build the largest automotive retail chain in the world. We have more than 2,200 retail outlets in the U.S. mostly under two brand names: Firestone Complete Auto Care and Tires Plus. This is where consumers have access to new tires and a whole array of automotive services. This allows us the great advantage and opportunity to know our customers closely,” he said.

Another source of pride and a point that Bridgestone Americas has promoted in the region is that Bridgestone Corp. recently finalized partnerships with Toyota and with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to explore tire development for vehicles in its lunar mobility project. 

“It’s not just about taking a tire that performs well. A tire that performs well in the extreme environments both hot and cold requires a much more complex understanding of why they work when in contact with the driving surface. We’re really proud to have been invited to participate in this project,” Knapp said.

Truck and bus tire plant operated by Bridgestone in Morrison, Tennessee, employs 1,040 employees and produces 9,150 tires per day.

To strengthen brand awareness, Bridgestone engages consumers through a variety of highly-visible sports partnerships that include the National Football League, the National Hockey League and the PGA TOUR.

As a Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic Partner, Bridgestone also plans to be incredibly active around the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games in its global hometown. Additionally, the company manufacturers tires for open-wheel racing through its Firestone brand, which serves as the sole tire supplier for the NTT IndyCar Series and the iconic Indianapolis 500.

Closer to home and among many partners, Bridgestone adopted the non-profit organizations United Way and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America as major beneficiaries of its philanthropic efforts.

“We work closely with these two world-class charitable organizations and take a lot of pride in supporting them,” Knapp said.

“We’re very fond of, and very happy to be in, Nashville. We’re committed to the community and the people. We feel that Nashville and the South is a great place to do business and we rest very well every night knowing we have made this our home,” Knapp also said.

Business opportunities in Latin America for Japanese companies

Thanks to Texas' proximity to the emerging markets of Central and South America, several major Japanese companies with significant investments in L...

Rebuilding the nation and the region

The 14th General Election last May was intense and Malaysians will remember it long after the settles. Not only will they remember the gruelling mo...

Western Australian council is first adopter of Datacom's new local government technology

Datacom has rolled out the first phase of its customer service system for the town of Manjimup in Western Australia. Kicking off with Service Reque...

TWSE: Cultivating Growth

When gauging a country's economic prospects, analysts first study the historical performance of its financial market and activity that characterize...

Philippines' top EdTech startup secures Series A funding as it boosts reach and engagement

Edukasyon, the leading education technology platform in the Philippines, recently closed its Series A financing round, joined by Asian and European...

Japanese carmakers: A vital part of the U.S. economy

Over nearly four decades, Japanese-brand automakers have built up a vast American presence. It has made a cumulative manufacturing investment of ab...

Casino slot manufacturer attributes success to hard work, vision, and dedication to core values

Japanese gaming giant Konami has invested heavily in Las Vegas, setting up a huge head office in the city from where it develops and markets indust...

Malaysia: A fresh start

Ten months since historic elections that rocked the nation’s political landscape, Malaysia, once again headed by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, i...

SilTerra: Defining tomorrow in Malaysia today

Globally ranked 16th by Gartner in the pure-play foundries category, SilTerra clearly punches above its weight. Originally set up in 1995 as a semi...

latest special Reports:

Upcoming Reports from

  • Global Media is your partner in reaching a powerful international audience through high-level economic reporting.

    Our ambition is to highlight under-reported developments and opportunities around the world, and allow leaders in these regions and sectors to take their message to the highest global level. We partner with top media to communicate with the world’s most powerful audiences. We specialize in communication and branding initiatives that help our clients effectively get their messages to their existing and potential partners. We achieve results for our clients by introducing them and their initiatives to an audience of elite international business and government leaders.

    Global Media Inc. is an independent media agency with offices in Hong Kong and Canada. GMI has more than a decade of experience in the writing, researching, and production of promotional country reports, with media partners from East Asia to North America. We have teams worldwide that develop country and thematic reports on the latest economic trends and developments.

    We are a media partner of Foreign Affairs,the United States’ most influential publication, published by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.

    Nearly a century old, there isn’t a more influential or higher-reaching publication in the United States than Foreign Affairs. The journal is ranked #1 in influence by U.S. opinion leaders in a recent nationwide study conducted by Erdos and Morgan, the premier business-to-business research firm. Their findings place Foreign Affairs ahead of all media, both print and broadcast, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and The Washington Post.


    “We were extremely impressed with how efficient, well-coordinated, responsive and reliable the Global Media Inc. team was. We owe them a lot for their professionalism. We were very pleased with the outcome, and the article was very well-written. We hope to have an opportunity to work with Global Media Inc. again in the near future.� – Japan Airport Terminal Co. Ltd.
    “The Global Media team’s professionalism was excellent. Their team was great and always gave us the right suggestions and information. The product was excellent, and we were very happy to have such a great opportunity working with their excellent team.â€� – National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies (GRIPS)
    “We were honored to be chosen as one of the good universities in Japan. This article conveyed Seigakuin University’s educational ideals and the message from President Akudo. The advertisement was conspicuous and gave a good impression that Seigakuin nurtured students to contribute to world peace. We really appreciated what Global Media Inc. had did for us.â€� – Seigakuin University

    Whom we have featured:

    • Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard
    • Australian Foreign Affairs Minister (and former Prime Minister) Kevin Rudd
    • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
    • Qatari Minister of International Trade and Industry Dato’ Sri Mustapa bin Mohamed
    • Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Yoshiaki Takaki
    • Taiwanese Foreign Minister Yang Chin-Tien
    • Taiwanese Finance Minister Lee Sush-Der
    • Taiwanese Economic Affairs Minister Shih Yen-Shiang
    • Taiwanese National Science Council Minister Lee Lou-Chuang,
    • Taiwanese Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Yeh Kuang-Shih
    • Taiwanese Political Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Lin Tsong-Ming
    • Indonesian Ambassador to the United States Dr. Dino Patti Djalal
    • Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board Chairman Gita Wirjawan
    • Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III
    • Philippine Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile

Join our newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.