Bridgestone to scrap Firestone brand name
TOKYO -- Bridgestone Corp., Asia's biggest tiremaker, will scrap the Firestone brand and appply the Bridgestone name for its tires sold worldwide, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported on its English language wire service.
The company will use the Bridgestone name in all new contracts to be signed with automakers in North and Latin America, Europe and other regions starting next year, the report said, citing unidentified company officials. It will keep the Firestone brand only for existing contracts and replacements in the U.S., the report said.
Bridgestone spokeswoman Setsuko Ozaki denied the report, saying the company will continue to promote Firestone as "a prime brand." The company earlier this month said that it will next month remove Firestone from two subsidiaries' names in the U.S. and Europe, but it'll keep the Firestone brand, she said.
Bridgestone is struggling to bolster its profitability and reputation that were hurt by a recall involving 6.5 million Firestone tires and Ford Motor Co. in the U.S. two years ago. Group net income fell four-fifths to 17.7 billion yen ($147 million) in 2000 and slid a further 2 percent in 2001.
Shares in Bridgestone rose 48 yen, or 3 percent, to 1,623 yen as of the 3 p.m. close of trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange today. The Nihon Keizai published the report during the markets' lunch break.
The company earlier this month cut its group net income forecast by 43 percent to 40 billion yen ($333 million) for the year through Dec. 31, saying a one-time loss for revaluing assets in Europe will wipe out gains from rising sales.
By Ryoko Imaizumi and Junko Hayashi / Bloomberg News