By Denna Bowman
Bridgestone is aiming to halve the amount of rubber it uses to produce its tyres over the next 10 years.
Masayuki Ishii, general manager at the corporate communications division of the Japanese tyres manufacturer, insisted the new developments will not affect product quality.
The technology is aimed at cutting the amount of all materials, including natural and synthetic rubber which has quadrupled in price from its record low in 2008.
The company will use 1.77 million metric tons of natural and synthetic rubber for tyre production this year, up 24 percent from 2009. Of the total, 1.23 million tons, or 69 percent, is for output overseas.
Ishii said: “It’s quite reasonable to cut the use of raw materials as they become expensive. Our company has the technological ability to realise that.” He said the company President Shoshi Arakawa wants to achieve the 50 percent cut in less than 10 years.
The price of rubber has soared recently due to floods in Thailand, the top producer, and growing demand in China, the biggest user, according to a report in Bloomberg report.
A Tokyo analyst was quoted as saying: “The company is moving in the right direction by reducing risks from raw materials as world auto demand keeps expanding, buoying prices. Other tyre makers will probably follow suit.”