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Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations Begins $164 Million Expansion At Wilson, North Carolina, Plant

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations began an expansion of the company's passenger tire manufacturing facility in Wilson, North Carolina. The five-year, $164 million investment to expand the 42-year-old facility will improve the plant's global competitive position by installing leading edge technology, expanding production capacity and lowering costs.

"Today is a momentous day for all of us at the Wilson plant and across Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, as we break ground on this important expansion that will allow us to grow our production and manufacturing capabilities to meet the changing needs of our customers," said Michael Darr, Plant Manager, Wilson Plant. "We'd like to thank the Wilson community for its support over the last 42 years, and we're excited to begin this next chapter in our plant's history."

Phases one and two of the investment, which will total nearly $100 million, will focus on the addition of 167,000 square feet of manufacturing space to accommodate 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.

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 has been a leader in tire manufacturing innovation during its 42- year history, and currently manufactures 32,000 passenger tires a day. It was the first Bridgestone tire manufacturing facility to produce run-flat tires, and this year will begin producing the company's DriveGuard tires, the first full line of premium, all season replacement tires engineered to go up to 50 miles to safety after a puncture.

The county's single largest industrial employer, the plant last underwent an expansion in 1999, when it added 85,000 square feet to the facility. It was the first tire plant to earn ISO 50001 certification, reach Superior Energy Performance (SEP) Mature Pathway certification and the first plant in the world to achieve Underwriters Laboratories' (UL) landfill waste diversion claim validation for Zero Waste to Landfill.

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