The Indian subsidiary of Japanese tyre firm Bridgestone today introduced the Firestone brand in India with the launch of two tyres under the popular American tyre brand. The first one is the FR500 aimed at the passenger car segment while the second one called Destination LE02 is targeted at the SUV segment.
Available in 24 sizes ranging from 12-inch rim diameters to 16-inch rim diameters, the FR500 was launched at a starting price of Rs 2,200. It boasts of features such as better wear life and better wet breaking performance.
The LE02, on the other hand, will come in three different sizes with 15- and 16-inch diameters and bears a starting price of Rs 5,500. The company plans to launch 11 new high-durability sizes for SUVs under the Destination range by 2018. The tyres will be available across over 3,000 retailers of Bridgestone from October 2016.
The Firestone brand will be manufactured at Bridgestone's plants in Chakan, Pune and Kheda, Indore. Presently, the tyre maker has a production capacity of approximately 25,000 tyres per day with both its plants combined. It does not have any plans to tie-up with automakers at present and is targeting the new brand of tyres for the replacement market only.
The company aims to garner 20 percent share of the replacement market over the next five years with the launch of the Firestone brand, according to Vaibhav Saraf, senior GM (Consumer Products), Bridgestone India. The Japanese tyre major is looking to position the Firestone brand at customers looking for value for money, and is confident that there will be no cannibalisation between the two brands.
“Over the last few years, India has emerged as a global economic powerhouse and also one of the fastest growing automotive markets in the world. Firestone at the onset will focus on the passenger car and SUV car segments and subsequently expand the size range,” said Kazuhiko Mimura, managing director, Bridgestone India.