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World's Largest Tire Company to Build SC Plant Employing Up to 550 Workers; 1 of 3 New Projects in State

Bridgestone Americas Inc. (BSAM) has announced it will invest almost $900 million to build a new 1.5 million-sq.-ft. radial tire plant in Aiken County, SC. The facility is scheduled to start producing off-road radial tires in 2014, and employ about 550 new workers over the next nine years. Its location will allow Bridgestone to more easily service North American customers, said company officials.

The mammoth tires it will make, used by mineral-hauling trucks, can measure 12 feet in diameter and weigh up to 11,000 pounds each. Currently these tires are manufactured in Japan.

Nashville, Tenn.-based BSAM is the U.S. subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world's largest tire and rubber company. BSAM and its subsidiaries develop, manufacture and market a wide range of Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires.

The plant will be a major strategic investment by the global Bridgestone Group which will not only enhance its supply systems and improve its sourcing flexibility, but also "further strengthen the Bridgestone Group's position as the global leader in the off-road radial tire segment," added Gary Garfield, vice president and senior officer, Bridgestone Corporation, and CEO/President, BSAM.

"Bridgestone Americas is a world-class manufacturer and this investment will be a real game-changer," said SC's Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "The company's new plant will further strengthen South Carolina's manufacturing sector, and show that our business-friendly environment and top-notch talent continue to keep us competitive with locations across the globe."

BSAM also announced it will expand its existing passenger and light truck tire plant located in Aiken County by an additional 474,000 square feet. This is the second announced expansion for this plant; the company announced a 266,000-sq.-ft. expansion in July.

When fully completed, these three projects will total a $1.2 billion investment in SC, and increase BSAM's workforce in Aiken County by more than 850 jobs (direct and contractor positions), according to the company.


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