Joliette, Quebec – Bridgestone Americas Inc. is planning a $225 million (€206 million) investment in its Joliette car and light truck tire plant to boost capacity nearly 18 percent to 20,000 units a day by 2023.
The investment will involve installing “technologically advanced” equipment to help the plant support the “significant North American markets and contribute to improved tire performance,” Bridgestone Canada Inc. said.
The multi-phase expansion is expected to break ground in 2016 and will be focused on capacity for larger diameter tires that fit today’s pickup trucks and SUVs, as well as increase productivity and enhance the plant’s global competitive position, Bridgestone said.
The project will shift the plant's product mix to 18- to 22-inch SKUs, Bridgestone said, from the current 15- to 18-inch mix.
“Our investment in updated equipment and improved manufacturing processes reflects our ongoing commitment to identifying new, cost-effective and innovative ways to serve consumers, dealers and original equipment manufacturers,” said Robert Verreault, Joliette plant manager.
“Canada continues to represent an important market for our company, and this investment represents a tremendous opportunity for Bridgestone, Joliette, the Lanaudiere region and the North American markets by enhancing the long-term viability of this facility.”
The project will increase the size of the plant nearly 13 percent to 1.13 million square feet, but will not create any new jobs at the plant, which is marking its 50th year in production this year. The plant’s 1,300 workers are represented by the Syndicat des Travailleurs de Bridgestone/Firestone de Joliette.
Bridgestone said 16 percent of the plant's output is OE-related, with tires going to Fiat Chrysler LLC, General Motors Co., Honda America Motors, Nissan North America Inc. and Toyota Motor North America Inc. factories.
Bridgestone last invested in the plant in 2009-12, committing $38 million at that time to modernize the facility and improve productivity.
That project included installing new machinery and other measures to enhance productivity at the plant, which specializes in low-profile, larger-diameter tires.