Joliette, Quebec – Bridgestone Canada Inc. has broken ground on the previously announced $250 million (€221 million), five-year capacity expansion at its 50-year-old Joliette car and light truck tire plant.
Announced in February, the multi-phase expansion of the facility – which manufactures both passenger and light truck tires – will help meet market demand, as well as increase productivity and enhance the plant’s global competitive position. It will increase the size of the plant nearly 13 percent to 1.13 million square feet, but it will not create any new jobs, the company said in February.
Bridgestone notes that with 1,300 employees, the plant is the largest private employer in the Lanaudiere region, which is located just northeast of Montreal.
New technology and advanced equipment will be phased in at over a five-year period, helping increase plant capacity by 3,000 tires per day for a total capacity of 20,000 tires per day by 2023. The new equipment will support a shift in 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,” Robert Verreault, Joliette plant manager, said in a statement.
“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.”
Constructed as a Firestone plant in 1965, the Joliette Plant began operations in 1966. Today, the Joliette facility is recognised as one of the Bridgestone group’s most environmentally sustainable plants.
Specialising in the manufacturing of passenger, SUV and light truck tires, the plant celebrated the production of its 150 millionth tire in 2014.