Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone) broke ground today in Williamsburg, Kentucky, on a $51 million expansion of its Firestone Industrial Products (FSIP) air springs manufacturing facility. The 68,000-square-foot expansion of the Williamsburg Plant is intended to address the rising demand for the company's air springs products, which is being fueled by the developing electric vehicle (EV) industry. The expansion, which is slated to be finished by December 2022, would create 250 new jobs, a roughly 50 percent increase over the current workforce of more than 500.
“Today, we celebrate the vitality and growth of this plant and this community, with new investment, new jobs and a physical expansion driven by growing demand for our products and, just as fundamentally, by this team’s commitment to delivering innovation and superior quality for our customers here and around the world,” said Emily Poladian, president, Firestone Industrial Products. “Our company and our Kentucky team have a vital role to play in the transformation of mobility brought forth by advanced electric vehicle systems and by key supporting technologies like our Firestone air springs and air suspensions.”
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For the electric vehicle industry, FSIP is a leading global supplier of air suspensions. Air suspensions from Firestone not only improve ride comfort and handling but may also extend the range of electric vehicles and safeguard batteries from road damage and overheating. This new chapter stems from a lengthy history of designing and selling parts to the majority of North American commercial vehicle manufacturers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company provided products to keep these vital service providers on the road. Ride-RiteTM, AirideTM, AirideTM Pro, AirogearTM, and Marsh MellowTM air springs are among the company's offerings.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, State Senator Robert Stivers, State Representative Regina Huff, Whitley County Judge Executive Pat White, Jr., and Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison joined Williamsburg Plant employees and Bridgestone leadership to celebrate.
“As we continue to build a better Kentucky for all of our families, I want to thank Firestone Industrial Products for its partnership with Whitley County, the Eastern Kentucky region and the commonwealth as a whole,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said. “This company has been a dedicated corporate partner in the commonwealth for many years, and this investment shows Firestone’s commitment to Kentucky as it creates 250 new jobs to meet increased demand for cutting-edge technology in electric vehicles. Kentucky’s workforce remains a national leader in manufacturing and made our state the perfect place for this expansion.”
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Bridgestone owned FSIP is the only full-service manufacturer of air suspension components in the United States, designs, tests, and manufactures components for air suspensions in Williamsburg, Kentucky. In Dyersburg, Tennessee, FSIP has a second plant where air springs are assembled. The North America Advanced Technical Design Center, located in Fishers, Indiana, allows FSIP to remain agile and focused on speed to market, which is a critical necessity for start-up electric vehicle firms. Plants are also located in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, and Poland.
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