By Denna Bowman
Bridgestone threw opened the doors to its tyres plant in France to celebrate 50 years of operations.
More than 2300 visitors from the local community attended the open day at the Béthune factory in France to mark the occasion with guided tours, an exhibition on the history of the plant and
an official ceremony.
Over the 50 years Béthune has produced more than 241 million tyres and employed 8700 people, some of them from three generations of the same family.
“We are delighted that so many local residents came to mark the occasion; it reflects the
important role that the Béthune plant plays in the community” said Mr. Bruno Capron, Managing
Director, Bridgestone France Manufacturing.
Initially the Béthune plant produced 4000 Firestone tyres a day and employed 640 people.
Capacity expanded steadily and reached a daily output of 12,500 tyres by 1973. In 1991 the
plant produced its first Bridgestone tyre, following Bridgestone’s worldwide acquisition of
Firestone. Production increased to 22,000 tyres a day.
Today 75% of production is oriented towards high-performance passenger-car tyres, including
winter tyres. With a workforce of 1300, production capacity has reached 25,000 tyres a day.