Thinking of getting your tyres replaced? Many brands may come to your mind but the one that’s considered one of the toughest is Bridgestone. The Japanese giant was established in 1931 by Shojiro Ishibashi.
The time when the company was born, American and British products were very popular in Japan. So, Ishibashi decided to give his company an English name and that is how ‘Bridgestone’ was born.
Before entering the tyre industry, Ishibashi was engaged in business with his brother. They used to produce Japanese footwear Tabi. Ishibashi made the first rubber sole in 1925 and it was a huge success. Later, in 1930, he manufactured a tyre and founded the Bridgestone Tyre Company in 1931. The firm became the first-ever Japanese tyre-manufacturing company.
The company’s headquarters were changed to Tokyo to meet the growing demand in the city. Ishibashi was always reluctant in expanding his business. He also produced golf balls, transmission belts, V-belts, etc. During World War 2, the company focused on manufacturing military products. The company changed its name in 1942 to Nippon Tyre Co. Ltd. The name stayed with the firm for 9 years, but the old name Bridgestone was established in 1984.
Impact of World War 2
The post-war era proved to be lucky for Bridgestone company. The business was expanded and sales reached the mark of 10 billion yen. Bridgestone Tyres Wolverhampton also tried their hand in motorbikes but couldn’t match the level of Honda and Suzuki. Soon, they had to close the production.
In the 1960s, four new factories were set up along with six others in the following decade. The production was expanded to countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Bridgestone Tyres was introduced to the American market in 1967. The next year, the firm won the Deming Prize in 1968 after increasing the quality of its products.
Taking over the Firestone
By the 1970s, Bridgestone Tyres was famous internationally and, of course, in Japan. Ishibashi tried his hand in various other businesses as well. He produced golf balls and also established golf clubs. The Bridgestone Golf Tournament was organised in 1970. By the end of the decade, the company started to produce aluminium wheels and other products.
Ishibashi died in 1976 but this did not affect the company’s performance. Its developing pace did not slow down. Soon Bridgestone Tyres bought the Firestone company’s factory in Tennessee. After 5 years, the company bought Firestone for $2.65 billion.
Motorsports and Bridgestone
Bridgestone’s technological advances were noticed by Porsche in 1986 and they decided that the company’s RE71 competition tyres were best suited for their models. In 1997, Bridsgetone made their debut in Formula 1 racing and cars running on Bridgestone Potenza tyres gained four podium finishes. In 1998, the firm played a huge part in the success of the McLaren Mercedes team.
The 21st Century
Bridgestone has been expanding its business since its birth. It has also been very successful in employing new technologies in its production. Presently, Bridgestone sells Tyres Bilston under its subsidiary brands like Firestone, Road King, Dayton, First Stop, etc. The company owns a total of 40 factories across the globe.