Bridgestone Commercial is born!
Bridgestone, a household name within the transport industry, is now focusing on the commercial tyre business like never before – with the formation of an all-new company.
The Bridgestone name is far from new to South African truckers. On a global front, the name has existed since 1931, when founder Shojiro Ishibashi established the business. Incidentally, the company name comes from an English translation of his surname.
The company has been active in the South African market since the proverbial pa fell off the bus. It has done much more, however, than just sell tyres.
For instance, Bridgestone was integral to the formation and success of the Caring Truckers Aids Drive, a charity administered by Charmont Media Global. The Caring Truckers Aids Drive was initiated in 2000 by FOCUS in conjunction with Bridgestone. In fact, the charity – which has had a huge impact on Aids orphans in South Africa – was the brainchild of Bridgestone’s Shaun Wustmann. Thanks to his inspiration, the Salvation Army recently received a Mazda5.
The vehicle was handed to the Ethembeni Babies Home in Johannesburg, and the team there was ecstatic with the new set of wheels. This haven for abandoned babies, some of whom are HIV/Aids-infected, was in dire need of a vehicle to ferry babies and toddlers, particularly those who need antiretrovirals (ARVs), to hospital.
The company has now decided that the time has come to truly make its mark on the commercial truck tyre market. And, on March 2 this year, a new company was created within the Bridgestone Group; Bridgestone South Africa Commercial, which will specifically handle the sales and distribution of all new and retreaded truck, bus and earth-mover tyres.
Bridgestone SA CEO, Mike Halforty, is upbeat about prospects for the new company. “Bridgestone Commercial will ensure our customers have the peace of mind of knowing they are dealing directly with Bridgestone. It will also allow us to consolidate our branding position and provide closer customer support, as well as position us for growth in the commercial market,” he adds.
Halforty has announced that Bridgestone Commercial will be led by Dries Lottering, in his capacity as managing director. “Dries has been with Bridgestone for many years and has extensive experience of the challenges faced by our commercial tyre customers,” notes Halforty.
The launch of Bridgestone Commercial also sees selected Supa Quick outlets offer commercial tyres and services. Halforty comments that this move will result in closer ties with commercial customers, and explains that the accredited outlets will also be able to supply commercial retreads manufactured according to the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) specifications.
Bridgestone’s commercial tyres are already highly regarded, with the company having won “Best Tyre Brand” at the FOCUS ON EXCELLENCE Awards.
“The time was right to ramp up our commercial operation to a new level,” Halforty says. “I’m certain that Bridgestone Commercial is going to set ever-higher standards in this segment,” he concludes.