Bridgestone to invest $164M in Wilson tire plant

Posted January 5

 Bridgestone Tires
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— Bridgestone Americas said Tuesday that it plans to invest $164 million in its Wilson tire plant over the next five years.

The expansion of the 42-year-old plant, which employs about 2,200 people, should improve the plant's global competitive position by installing leading edge technology, expanding production capacity and lowering costs, company officials said.

"Our production and manufacturing capabilities must evolve with our products to meet the changing needs of today's consumers," plant manager Michael Darr said in a statement. "Our investment in updated equipment and improved manufacturing processes and facilities reflects our focus on maintaining our global competitiveness, as well as our commitment to the Wilson community."

Although Bridgestone didn't disclose any new hiring in its announcement, Wilson spokeswoman Rebecca Agner said the expansion plan secures existing jobs in the city and positions the plant for future job growth.

The first two phases of the expansion, which will total nearly $100 million and will start in the coming months, will add 167,000 square feet of manufacturing space for new tire assembly machines, materials handling systems, curing presses and associated equipment to increase plant capacity by 3,000 tires per day, bringing daily production to 35,000 by 2018.

Officials said the new equipment also will allow the plant to respond to the increase in global demand for higher-rim-size tires, as well as improve quality and productivity while reducing costs.

The Wilson plant was last expanded in 1999, officials said.


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