Bridgestone, the single biggest tire company in the world, produces over 20 million tires a year delivered to 150 different countries. Their reach is global, and the brand has products for every vehicle, weather, and price point. The source of their incredible success is the quality and innovation the company is able to deliver at famously low costs.
Bridgestone has long been an industry pioneer; other competitors have tire designs and innovations that can be directly traced back to the company’s prestigious laboratories. The Japanese firm spends millions of dollars each year on research and development, process improvements, and a clean supply chain. But all of these are secondary to the main reason that Bridgestone is the biggest tire manufacturer in the world. The main reason for its success can be traced to the company’s singular focus: delivering the best possible tires to consumers like you.
- Why is Bridgestone the Most Popular Tire Company in the World?
- Bridgestone Design Features
- A History of Bridgestone
- Bridgestone and Auto Racing
- Bridgestone Corporate Responsibility
- Bridgestone’s Best Selling Tires
- A List of Bridgestone Tires Models
Why is Bridgestone the Most Popular Tire Company in the World?
Innovation at a Discount
Bridgestone has achieved success by focusing on regular customers. They don’t spend as much on marketing or racing as other companies, so their employees must figure out ways to innovate cost-effectively. To do this, they simply focus on everyday tires. The research and development department spends most of its budget developing tires for ordinary consumers instead of tires for supercars. This keeps the innovation in the hands of typical drivers.
While other tire companies spend huge amounts of marketing dollars on marquee racing like Formula One and NASCAR, Bridgestone spends its racing budget on smaller, less famous series. In these series, dollars go to research and development instead of advertising. By sponsoring smaller races, Bridgestone can test and develop technology more cost-efficiently.
Bridgestone’s Automotive Partners
While other automakers focus on the parts aftermarket, courting direct consumer buyers, Bridgestone sells most of their tires directly to car manufacturers. The company works closely in collaboration with these domestic and international automakers to maximize product fit for some of the most popular cars in the world.
In the past, Bridgestone tires have outfitted popular models like the Ford Explorer, Chrysler Pacifica, Acura TLX, and hyper-popular Volkswagen GTI. If your car originally came with Bridgestone tires, there’s a good chance that it was designed to work specifically with Bridgestone products. The company has earned millions of satisfied customers by focusing on good product fit.
Bridgestone’s Enormous Distribution Network
Located in 50 states, 150 countries, and available for purchase from countless automobile manufacturers, Bridgestone has the biggest distribution, maintenance, and customer support network of any tire company in the world. If you live in an urban area, you’re not likely to be too far away from a Bridgestone tire expert. Their extensive network allows you to have confidence that any product issue you come across will be easily taken care of easily.
Another way Bridgestone shows its dedication to regular customers is with incredible warranties and phenomenal customer service. Bridgestone even has some tire centers that are specifically dedicated to solving problems for existing customers. With this corporate strategy, it’s easy to tell that Bridgestone cares more about keeping customers than simply finding new ones. Customer support is available both online and over the phone.
On top of that, Bridgestone offers a bulletproof quality and mileage guarantee for all of their products. The first part of this is a 90-day “Buy and Try Guarantee,” which allows you to return any purchased tire to any retailer, online or offline, within 90 days for a full refund. If you choose to keep your purchase past 90 days, the PlatinumPact warranty kicks in, which replaces or partially refunds any tire that becomes unusable for any reason. To enjoy these perks, just remember to register your tires with Bridgestone shortly after purchasing. Details for the warranty can be seen in Bridgestone’s customer manual.
Bridgestone Design Features
With an emphasis on creating innovations in tires meant for day-to-day drivers, Bridgestone earns millions of fans a year by providing high-tech products at an affordable price.
Commuters and highway drivers often complain about how loud driving can be. While road noise is definitely annoying, not everyone knows that it can also damage your hearing. At highway speeds, the noise can be louder than a vacuum cleaner. Approaching 70 decibels, a loud car-interior can take a toll over time.
Bridgestone solves loud interior noise through its QuietTrack technology, which was developed using insights from creating tires for grand tour racing. The technology combines a proprietary rubber formula with a specific tread pattern to cancel out road vibration.
While the reduction of road vibration leads to a quieter ride, it also contributes to fuel efficiency. QuietTrack tires float over bumps in the road, which improves rolling resistance. Every bit adds up, and the end result is a more comfortable ride that also helps you save at the pump.
No one wants to be stranded away from home when they get a flat tire, and for this reason, Bridgestone developed DriveGuard Technology. DriveGuard-equipped tires are made with rigid sidewalls that allow the tires to continue functioning even after a puncture caused by road debris. Due to its stiff structure, even if you have no air left in the tire, it can still hold its shape.
This innovation allows you to continue driving on a flat tire for up to 50 miles. You can drive at speeds up to 50 miles an hour to get home—the tire functions almost as well as a smaller spare tire and wheel combo. For drivers who need peace of mind, DriveGuard Technology is vital.
Blizzak Winter Tires
Bridgestone has a legendary reputation for winter tires, making durable, high traction rubber at a reasonable price. Backed by Bridgestone’s powerful warranty, Blizzak technology uses a combination of rubber and tread pattern innovations to deliver all-condition performance.
Blizzak tires are optimized for all winter conditions, performing in slush, snow, and ice. These tires are renowned for their stopping ability, and Blizzak tires will best all-season offerings by every other manufacturer in a head-to-head winter braking test.
EdgePerformance Technology is an innovation specifically designed for long-range touring tires, featuring on Bridgestone’s Turanza line. The design and depth of the tread are specifically designed to wear evenly and slowly throughout thousands of miles of use. This technology makes sure that performance remains the same throughout the life cycle of the tire. It’s the main reason that the Turanza lineup can offer a ludicrous 80,000-plus-mile warranty.
A History of Bridgestone
Bridgestone was founded in Tokyo, Japan in 1931, as one of the first Asian tire producers to bring products to Asia’s growing consumer market. It was founded by Shojiro Ishibashi, who had learned about business from his family’s clothing store and became incredibly wealthy, later founding the tire company.
Shojiro Ishibashi was motivated by creating a more modern Japan, and the automotive industry fit into his vision for technological advancement. World War Two was tough on the company, and during a bombing raid, the Tokyo headquarters was destroyed. After the war, Bridgestone continued to grow as the rest of the continent modernized, expanding into growing markets in China and India.
In 1967, Bridgestone entered the American market for the first time. By 1988, the company had expanded enough to merge with the prestigious American tire company Firestone, and thus expanded its US operations.
In the 90s, Bridgestone and Firestone expanded their racing presence as well as their sales footprint. In this decade, the company boomed, quickly ascending the charts to become the biggest tire company in the world.
In recent years, the Bridgestone family of companies has distilled its corporate philosophy to a simple slogan: “Trust and Pride.” Since 2000, the company has continued to trade off the title of “largest tire company” with Michelin, continuing to pursue a business strategy of delivering excellent products to everyday drivers.
Bridgestone in the Tire Industry
Bridgestone is the biggest tire manufacturer in the world, dwarfing other multinational conglomerates like Pirelli and Goodyear. They have 181 factories in 24 countries, with a presence across the world that continues to expand to this day. Only about 90 years old, the company is a relative newcomer to the game, as all of the other top five tire companies were founded before 1900.
Bridgestone has grown to be number one for just one particular reason: they are the firm that embraced international expansion earlier and more seriously than any other. As a Japanese company, the domestic market was quite limited, which necessitated Bridgestone’s expansion into other Asian markets as early as the 1960s. As those markets exploded, Bridgestone was in the perfect position to take advantage of incredible growth in demand for auto parts like tires.
Since then, Bridgestone has continued to embrace internationalization, and now sells products in a staggering 150 countries. While in recent years American and European companies have refocused on markets closer to home, seeking to make money on high-value products, Bridgestone continues to go after rapid expansion in developing markets. This allows them to continue their stretch as the biggest tire company in the world, producing over 20 million units each year.
Their experience in a huge range of countries allows them to have an efficient supply chain that delivers high-quality products at a more affordable price point. Their experience in different countries also helps them with research and development for tires in a huge range of conditions.
Bridgestone and Auto Racing
While Bridgestone doesn’t have a racing presence as big or as storied as tire manufacturers like Goodyear or Pirelli, the company still recognizes the large research and development opportunities racing provides. They specifically target races that mimic real-world conditions, particularly 24-hour racing formats along with grand tour style races.
Super GT is a format of racing that uses cars similar to stock models. The sport is particularly popular in Japan, so it’s a good fit for Bridgestone, which operates out of Tokyo. All cars are grand touring versions that have two seats and lower horsepower than typical for racing. This means that the cars are quite similar to standard consumer vehicles. Almost all cars that compete in the series have versions that are available on the domestic market.
Races are around 300 km, which is not so long that cars burn through a whole set of tires, but long enough to make sure that tires are durable. Even though Bridgestone has dominated the race series, they continue to participate due to the unique research and development opportunities the racing provides.
The Nürburgring 24 Hour Endurance Race
At the storied Nürburgring Race Track in western Germany, Bridgestone participates in a yearly 24-hour racing event that pushes their tires and teams to the absolute limit of motorsports capability. At the demanding race track, teams have 24 hours to navigate the loop as many times as possible.
24-hour racing is demanding under the best circumstances, but at the Nürburgring equipment is truly put through the paces. For this reason, it’s one of Bridgestone’s targets each year. Bridgestone demands excellence, durability, and lasting performance for all of their products, and the Nürburgring race track, due to its tricky corners and long-distance racing, is perfect for their needs. At this race, Bridgestone puts experimental designs to the test, and if they come out the other side successfully, those technologies are adapted to be sold on the consumer market.
Bridgestone Corporate Responsibility
One Team, One Planet
Bridgestone approaches sustainability with an attitude that we are all in this together—that consumers, stakeholders, employees, executives, companies, and governments all need to take specific action to make sure future generations have a healthy climate. Every single stakeholder has a part to play in order to create a more sustainable society. Bridgestone tackles the problem using three principles:
- Be in Harmony with Nature: By protecting ecosystems on the land Bridgestone owns, the company can foster a culture of environmental innovation starting with the places employees work. Bridgestone spends money on projects that protect the natural areas around factories, office facilities, and material plants.
- Value Natural Resources: Bridgestone works to clean up its supply chain from top to bottom, both decreasing inputs and making sure that all products are as clean as possible. On the other end, they try to be as efficient with materials, producing as little waste as possible and recycling what waste they do produce. Bridgestone currently has six facilities that have reached a zero-waste-to-landfill benchmark.
- Reduce Emissions: The tire industry is a huge source of carbon emissions, but Bridgestone does valuable work to reduce its footprint as a company as well as the footprint of the products themselves. The company has reduced emissions on a corporate level by 35% as of 2020. Simultaneously, they continue to meet goals for tire fuel-efficiency and increased tire lifespan.
Another wing of Bridgestone’s commitments to corporate social responsibility involves taking on projects that improve the communities where the company operates. Bridgestone betters these communities by working on projects that improve society, education, and health.
One of initiatives the company has taken on is the opening of vocational training schools in Indonesia, China, the United States, and India. The company has also supported organizations like the Special Olympics, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the Solidarity Caravan.
Bridgestone’s Best Selling Tires
Bridgestone’s tires have an incredibly wide range, covering everything from perfect race conditions to gnarly off-road trails. Their tire lineup is not only wide, but it’s deep as well, meaning that they make tires for very specific needs. With Bridgestone, you’ll surely be able to find a tire that works for your vehicle.
Ecopia Tire Series
The Ecopia tire line is Bridgestone’s environmentally-conscious tire line. The product series prioritizes fuel-efficiency, which lets you maximize how many miles you get out of every fill-up. An added benefit is Bridgestone’s use of environmentally friendly materials, which means that you won’t have to deal with nasty chemicals in your tires.
- Ecopia EP422 Plus: The Ecopia tire is a fantastic all-season option that delivers great fuel efficiency. It’s comfortable, safe, and handles just as well in the winter as in the summer. It’s a little pricier than all-season offerings from other manufacturers, but it will make up the difference over time due to fuel economy.
- Ecopia H/L EP422 Plus: The H/L designation is reserved for minivans, SUVs, and Crossovers, but this tire gives bigger vehicles a chance at making tremendous fuel efficiency gains. On average, a set of these tires can save around $150 dollars in gas during their guaranteed 70,000-mile life expectancy.
Potenza Race Series
Just because Bridgestone prioritizes the design and manufacture of everyday tires doesn’t mean that they don’t produce fully capable performance tires. The Potenza line is a series of race tires that are street legal, meaning they’re speed demons both on the track and around town. Advancements from Bridgestone’s GT racing experience were directly put into this line of tires, and it shows—they are fast, but they’re built to last as well.
- Potenza RE-71R: A race tire with class-leading traction, the Potenza RE-71R is built for supercars that need to be hot off the start line. It’s Bridgestone’s fastest street-legal tire.
- Potenza RE97AS RFT: The Potenza RE97AS RFT is an all-season, grand touring riff on the Potenza line that brings some more durable, all-condition characteristics to a high-performance product. With RunFlat technology, you get a tire that performs incredibly well but won’t leave you stranded.
Turanza Grand Touring
The Turanza family is a series of long-wearing touring models that are aimed towards luxury car owners. The price point is a bit higher, but so is performance and comfort. The ride is quiet and comfortable, and all models feature an outstanding 80,000-mile guarantee.
- Turanza T005: Originally designed for high-end coupes and luxury sedans, the T005 is a summer tire that doesn’t do very well in wintery conditions. It’s meant for drivers seeking a comfortable ride without compromising on handling.
- Turanza Serenity Plus: The Turanza Serenity Plus is a tire built for luxury, with plush road feel yet sharp road handling. The “Serenity” in the model name refers to an innovation in tread pattern, which uses a specific layup of rubber to reduce noise inside the cabin.
Dueler Tire Series
Designed for SUVs and trucks, the Dueler series is made for a wide range of conditions. It’s still a relatively practical tire for around-town driving, with great comfort and noise-reduction capabilities. This series delivers traction in wet and dry conditions, and most models come with long mileage warranties.
- Dueler H/P Sport AS: While many Dueler tires are just winter- or summer-specific, the H/P Sport is an all-around, all-season option. The “sport” designation just means it has softer rubber and will deliver snappy handling both on and off-road.
- Dueler H/L Alenza: The Alenza label is saved for more street-capable versions and aims itself at SUV drivers that spend most of their time on asphalt. Although it’s meant for trucks, these tires almost feel sporty at times, with excellent handling, braking, and traction.
A List of Bridgestone Tires Models
Race Performance Summer
Ultra-High Performance Summer
Potenza RE040 RFT
High Performance Summer
Potenza RE050 RFT
Potenza RE050A I RFT
Potenza RE050A II RFT
Potenza RE050A Pole Position RFT
Potenza RE050A RFT
Potenza RE050A Scuderia
Potenza S-02 A
Potenza S-04 Pole Position
Potenza S001 I
Potenza S001 RFT
Potenza S001L RFT
Potenza S007 RFT
Ultra-High Performance All-Season
High Performance All-Season
Grand Touring Summer
Grand Touring All-Season
Ecopia EP422 (H- or V-Speed Rated)
Ecopia EP422 Plus (H- or V-Speed Rated)
Potenza RE97AS RFT
Turanza EL450 RFT
Turanza LS100 A
Turanza LS100 A RFT
Turanza Serenity Plus
Standard Touring All-Season
Studless Ice and Snow
Performance Winter or Snow
Light Truck and SUV Tires
Street or Sport Truck Summer
Crossover or SUV Touring All-Season
Alenza Sport A/S
Alenza Sport A/S RFT
Dueler H/L 33
Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia
Dueler H/L Alenza
Dueler H/L Alenza Plus
Dueler H/P Sport AS
Dueler H/P Sport AS RFT
Ecopia H/L 422 Plus
Ecopia H/L 422 Plus (Original Equipment)
Ecopia H/L 422 Plus RFT
Dueler A/T D693 III
Dueler A/T RH-S
Dueler A/T Revo 3
Off-Road Commercial Traction
Light Truck and SUV Studless Ice and Snow
Light Truck and SUV Performance Winter and Snow
Blizzak LM-25 4X4 RFT
Blizzak LM-80 RFT