History

Bridgestone is the world’s leader in tire technology. The company dates back to 1900 when Harvey Firestone founded the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company (Pacejka & Besselink, 2012). In 1931, Shojiro Ishibashi established Bridgestone Tire Company in Japan (Pacejka & Besselink, 2012). The two organizations later merged to form Bridgestone Americas. The business has grown to be an international corporation with over 141 production facilities in 24 countries (Pacejka & Besselink, 2012).

Product

The core activity of Bridgestone is to develop, manufacture and market tires for all types of vehicles. It currently offers more than 8000 varieties of tire products (Krammer, 2009). Additionally, it produces and sells building materials, air springs, industrial fibers, natural and synthetic rubbers and textiles in the United States and internationally.

Bridgestone sells tires through outlets in America and other foreign states. The United States alone has more than 12,000 sales points which include discount retailers, independent dealers, and company-owned shops (Pacejka & Besselink, 2012). The organization makes tires for passenger vehicles, trucks, earthmoving equipment, and motorcycles. The product offered by the business is safe, effective and technologically advanced since the management invests heavily into research, development and testing to improve their articles. All in all, Bridgestone seeks to position itself as a high-quality and prestigious brand.

Competitors

The main competitors of the company under consideration include Michelin, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Cooper Tire and Rubber, Goodrich Tires, and Bandag. For instance, Michelin has the highest market share in the European tire market. Moreover, it owns over 70 factories in 13 countries and manufactures about 3500 products (Pacejka & Besselink, 2012). As for Goodyear, it has a market presence in 30 states, and it is the market leader in the US (Krammer, 2009).

Market

Bridgestone has a wide market in the global scale. To start from, it possesses plants in Europe, Asia, Middle East and America. Moreover, the business has a well-established distribution channel to all key markets including setting up manufacturing centers. The company exports most of its products to the developed economies though it is exploring the developing ones by creating economical products that can be sold there.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

Bridgestone has several internal characteristics that it may use to achieve its objectives. First, it has a strong brand built through car racing and motorsports. Second, the company has a favorable distribution channel that increases its market share and 52 enterprises which employ more than 50,000 staff (Krammer, 2009). Moreover, Bridgestone can use its association with the famous Firestone brand and Ajinomoto to increase its sales (“Ajinomoto collaborates with Bridgestone,” 2012).

Furthermore, the business has a highly qualified management team. For instance, it has appointed an American CEO who understands the management of crises such as those that Bridgestone suffered (Grand View Research, 2014). The new CEO has solved all the problems that the company faced formulating the strategies to retain the lost glory. The organization continues to hire highly skilled and experienced individuals to join the management team. At the same time, it is employing a large number of employees to meet the product demand in the market.

Additionally, Bridgestone uses a vigorous marketing campaign to attract new customers, especially, the younger buyers. In the course of increasing the market share, Bridgestone has allowed rebates on tires to make them more affordable to buyers (Grand View Research, 2014). The move has led to the rise in sales and strengthened the financial position of the company.

To continue, Bridgestone manufactures long-lasting tires as it uses new rubber to make them. The company is also improving its efficiency in production by adopting more effective manufacturing technologies.
Finally, the corporation has highly diversified its products. It makes air springs, textiles, industrial fibers and roofing material. Diversifying business indicates that the losses in one segment will be offset by the profits in a more successful one.

Weaknesses

Bridgestone has several internal characteristics that serve as obstacles to achieving its objectives. First, it suffers from loss of brand credibility. The company recalled Firestone tires after the increased publicity of injuries and deaths that took place while people were using them. As a result, the negative publicity has made the people associate the Firestone brand with low safety and a threat to life.

Second, Bridgestone suffers from production and design problems. As it has been stated, the company recalled Firestone tires because of significant quality issues. Moreover, the business has also lost part of its equipment market share. The quality issues with Firestone forced key equipment consumers such as Ford to isolate themselves from the company and join its competitor, Goodyear (Grand View Research, 2014).

Third, Bridgestone suffers poor employee morale. The company experienced a severe labor strike before recalling the controversial products. Employees have been constantly complaining about the corporation’s failure to resolve quality issues in its plants.

Furthermore, the potential costs that might result from lawsuits filed by the customers who have purchased the recalled products will weaken the financial position of Bridgestone. Moreover, its products are highly priced restricting its market to the developed economies. This means that the company does not have significant market share in developing states. Thus, the company should develop products for developing economies.

Opportunities

Bridgestone has a wide range of external features that it may exploit to meet its aims.

First, the company has plenty of opportunities in equipment demand. For instance, it has created a partnership with General Motors to supply it with tires that will be equipped on some vehicles at the manufacturing stage (Tremblay, 2010). Association of the tires with such a reputable car dealer will give Bridgestone an image of high quality and, in turn, increase its demand in the market.

Second, the corporation is known for its high-quality products. As a result, the good reputation attracts customers. The advancement in technology such as the run flat tires could enhance the future sales of Bridgestone.

Finally, the business is highly competitive in foreign markets. It has captured a significant market share in its industry. Additionally, it observes high standards of ethics in environmental sustainability. The environmental conservation measures make its establishment, production and operations easier and less costly overseas.

Threats

Bridgestone faces external issues that it must recognize and develop strategies to avert their effects.

First, the current market is changing at a fast rate. New cheaper tires have entered the market and might significantly reduce Bridgestone’s market share. Moreover, the consumers are exposed to a wide range of information, and the increased choice brought about by the access to information might increase competition for Bridgestone.

As it has been stated, the corporation has international operations in major world markets which introduces additional costs. Some of the countries experience economic instability and volatile economies making revenue unpredictable. The currency exchange costs also act as an additional challenge to the business.

Lastly, environmental sustainability poses a great threat to the operation of Bridgestone in foreign states. Pollution caused by production activities such as the one of a river in Eastern Africa may cause the withdrawal of the license (Tremblay, 2010). Various countries have also set laws indicating safety regulations for tires.

Risks and Issues

The tire industry experiences changes that affect the tire manufacturers. They include political, economic, cultural and environmental. These risks threaten the market for products of Bridgestone increasing the challenges of manufacturing. The success of the corporation depends on how well it will mitigate these risks.

Political Risks

Bridgestone generates most of its sales in the developed economies. In 2013, the company generated about 88% of its revenue from them (Eom, Lee, & Choi, 2014). The business, therefore, has limited exposure to political risks since the developed economies have less of those. However, the organization has a potential for future growth in emerging markets.

In general, Bridgestone may face challenges caused by political decisions in both the developed and developing economies. The first risk is that the production of tires poses safety and environmental hazards. Thus, the company may encounter the risks caused by political decisions governing the manufacturing of tires. The legislative changes may add costs to the operation or make the activities illegal. For example, the European Union has passed new laws that require all tires to have performance ratings. The law applies across Europe and informs the customers about the environmental and safety impacts of the tires (Eom, Lee, & Choi, 2014). Japan, China, and the United States have also adopted the safety regulations (Eom, Lee, & Choi, 2014). The imposition of quality standards forces Bridgestone to develop tires with a wider diameter, which means more expenses. Furthermore, as the company is moving to developing economies, it is likely to face political risks such as the tension between Russia and Ukraine (Eom, Lee, & Choi, 2014). The consequences include asset freezes and sanctions. Other issues include inflation in Brazil which potentially increases operating costs (Eom, Lee, & Choi, 2014).

Economic Risks

The development of the market for tire manufacturers highly depends on macroeconomic growth. The events such as the economic crisis of 2007-2008 have greatly affected the demand for the product in Europe and America. The contraction of the world economy has also slowed down the growth of markets in Asia. Nevertheless, interventions such as lowering interest rates may promise more vibrant economies and growth of markets for tire manufacturers.

Cultural Risks

The growth of markets for tires depends on the economic growth of population in both developed and developing economies. Bridgestone plans to enter the developing economies. Consequently, cultural factors such as the increase of population will affect the market for its products. The developed economies, where the corporation has a significant market reach, have divergent cultural beliefs in comparison with the developing economies. Bridgestone might face barriers such as resistance to modernization which potentially reduces its market. However, as more people in developing economies continue to settle in urban areas, the market for tires may become bigger due to the rise in demand for cars.

Environmental Risks

The manufacture of tires poses far-reaching environmental risks. The emission of fumes from the industries worsens global warming and air pollution. Developing economies have also presented concerns of disposing waste into rivers. The disposal of tires also causes environmental degradation issues. As Bridgestone expands its manufacturing facilities across the global market, it is likely to face regulations from governments and environmental conservationists. The impacts are as high as withdrawal of licenses when culpability of flouting environmental laws is established (CanagaRetna, 2013). Therefore, Bridgestone should come up with environmentally friendly ways of disposing the waste to avoid conflicts with governments where it has set manufacturing facilities.

Conclusion

Bridgestone has grown to hold a significant market share in the global tire market. The market for its products is concentrated in developed economies. The company has much strength such as a strong brand and a reputation of high-quality products although its products are highly priced and unaffordable to consumers in the developing economies. It should manufacture products specifically for the moderate economy segment. Moreover, the corporation has to establish strong quality checks to minimize recall of products.

In general, Bridgestone has opportunities of growth due to the enhancement of economies in countries that were previously underdeveloped. Finally, the company should establish environmentally friendly means of manufacturing its products to avoid conflicts with foreign countries where it has production plants.

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