News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

December 13, 2010

Bridgestone aims to cut rubber consumption by half by 2020

Here’s a story that has me scratching my head.

On December 2, Bloomberg reported that Bridgestone planned to cut its rubber consumption by 50 percent over the next decade, citing an interview with Masayuki Ishii, general manager of Bridgestone’s corporate communications division. The article quoted Ishii as stating, “Technology being developed will halve use of natural and synthetic rubber in each Bridgestone tire without affecting product quality.”

The article makes it clear that the reduction would affect all tire raw materials. “Bridgestone’s new technology will reduce the amount of all tire materials, including natural and synthetic rubber, incrementally over 10 years without cutting performance, Ishii said, declining to elaborate.”

I am trying to get more information on this announcement, as it truly is astounding news if it comes to pass. As I read this, it implies that producing the same size tire would require half the materials in 10 year’s time. I can’t even begin to imagine how something like this would be accomplished (and I’m assuming here that it doesn’t simply refer to making smaller tires).

Update: I received the following response from Bridgestone’s public relations department regarding the article:

With regard to your requirement, we deeply regret to inform you that further than what is mentioned on the article, we do not have much to announce officially at this moment.

With regard to half weight project, while we anticipate that it will be a long-term development, we have not currently established a target date. The commercialization of these technologies is being decided on an
individual basis while considering market trends and the performance targets we strive to meet.

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