The marks that Bridgestone Americas leave have everything to do with tires. The US subsidiary of Japan's Bridgestone, Bridgestone Americas operates through a family of companies that run more than 50 production facilities throughout the Americas. Perhaps best known for its Bridgestone and Firestone brands, its main tire operations consist of manufacturing and selling tires for passenger cars, commercial trucks, motorcycles, and agricultural and off-road equipment in the US, Canada, and Latin America. Its retail operations consist of more than 2,000 vehicle service and tire centers in the US. Additionally, Bridgestone Americas offers natural rubber and latex, fibers and textiles, and industrial and building products.
Bridgestone Americas sells tires, its core product, through the world's largest chain of company-owned automotive retail stores. Its more than 2,000 consumer and commercial vehicle service and tire centers include Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, ExpertTire, and Wheel Works. It also sells its tires through discount stores, warehouse clubs, and a network of independent dealers throughout the Americas.
Not only are Bridgestone Americas' tires marketed to the consumer replacement market, they are geared at the commercial market and come as original equipment on more than 200 different car and light truck models sold in the US and Canada. Its tires can be found on Ford Motor, GM, Honda, Nissan, and Subaru vehicles, as well as agricultural and construction equipment made by Caterpillar and John Deere. Bridgestone Americas' tires are also supplied to Sears Canada. Often tested and used on motorsports cars, its Firestone brand has won more Indianapolis 500 races than any other brand.
With the North American auto industry's recessionary challenges and rising raw material, energy, and transportation costs, Bridgestone Americas has been announcing price increases throughout 2010 and 2011 affecting its consumer replacement and original equipment tires, as well as its commercial Bridgestone and Firestone brand truck and bus tire products, Bandag brand retreads, and other related retreading materials in the US and Canada. These increases are vital to a company that is part of parent Bridgestone's largest segment geographically -- the Americas generate more than 40% of Bridgestone's total sales.
To further fend off the recession, Bridgestone Americas is finding ways to create jobs and boost business. In 2011 it announced the construction of a new 1.5 million-sq.-ft. off-road radial tire manufacturing facility in Aiken County, South Carolina, plus a 474,000-sq.-ft. expansion of the existing passenger and light truck tire plant. When completed, these projects will total a $1.2 billion investment and are expected to increase Bridgestone Americas' workforce in Aiken County by more than 850 jobs. This plant, like many of its others, will seek green LEED certification.