Local News

Business Booming At Wilson's Firestone Plant

Posted October 26, 2001 9:20 a.m. EDT

— Things are looking up for a local company. After a pretty rough year, Firestone has been been recruited to fill quite an order.

Firestone has had some troubles over the past year with the big recall and the battle with Ford. Now, the recalls appear to be over and Firestone of Wilson has a new partner.

"Your friends, your families and your community leaders truly believe in you. We are proud of you and more than willing to support you in both good times and bad," said Jennifer Lantz of the Wilson Economic Development Commission, who spoke Friday in front of plant workers.

Employees at the Wilson Firestone plant hope the bad times are over. The plant has earned a big award from Honda after its tires outperformed a competitor's and became standard equipment on every 2001 Civic built in America and Canada.

Firestone signed a deal with Honda just a few weeks before the new cars hit the road.

"You didn't have the tools or the line capacity at that time, but you didn't let us down," said Honda plant manager Dan Smith.

Workers at the plant bent over backward to beat the Honda deadline even during all the bad publicity of the past year when millions of Firestone tires on Ford Explorers were recalled.

"The past year has been rough. It hasn't been an easy time, but we've always known that we make a good quality product and we persevered and to get this recognition is wonderful," said employee George Rodenburg.

"I'm sure having Honda come all the way down here to present the award will mean a lot to the Firestone employees here," said Wilson-Firestone plant manager Harry McMillian.

"This company, the people at this plant, they put in extra hours, extra effort and it's all about pride," said employee Roger Battle. "We enjoy the work that we do here."

The Honda plant manager has also asked Firestone to keep this plant open so they could keep up with demand.