Brits, South Africa - Bridgestone has started commercial production of runflat tyres for the local and international market at its factory in Brits, in South Africa's North West Province.
In a press release, the company said, "Bridgestone South Africa has spent a substantial amount upgrading its Brits factory in North West Province to manufacture Run Flat Tyres locally. ... Bridgestone South Africa is also the first local tyre manufacturer that has received approval from BMW Group to supply locally manufactured runflat tyres (RFT) as original equipment for fitment to BMW vehicles."
In March 2004, Bridgestone said it would invest R700 million (â‚¬70 million) in the Brits plant. At the same time, Bridgestone said the investment would bring the capacity at Brits to 1.9 million units per year, up from 1.45 million and create 70 new jobs. Bridgestone did not repeat these numbers in its latest release.
The Brits investment adds a fourth runflat-manufacturing facility for Bridgestone. The company currently makes runflat tyres at Tosu, Japan, Poznan, Poland and Wilson, North Carolina. The Wilson unit was opened in November 2006.
Bridgestone's statement said the company is the first in South Africa to make runflats. The company is also implementing a support programme for dealers. Bridgestone said it offers unequalled service backup for RFT through the country's largest dealer 'footprint', with trained RFT specialists and the necessary equipment and stocks to meet customers' needs. Bridgestone South Africa has a dedicated training programme to ensure that all RFT dealer personnel will have the required skills and knowledge to service consumers of runflat tyres."
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Press release from Bridgestone
ERJ story from March 2004