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Firestone rubber company was started in Akron, Ohio by Harvey Firestone in 1900.
The original goal was to make pneumatic tires for the whole of the United States, but Harvey Firestone turned his personal relationship with Henry Ford into a business proposition that turned into Firestone supplying tires for Ford and the Model T.
During the 1920’s, Firestone expanded its products to not only tires, but to inner tubes, mechanical goods, Firestone balloon tires, radial tires, tire cords, and roofing materials.
During this time, Firestone expanded its enterprise into the southern and northern parts of the American continent by opening plants in Canada and South America.
During WWII, Firestone helped the allied forces by providing rubber components for military vehicles and equipment, while also sponsoring NBC and playing a pivotal role in the making of television into what it is today by being a first major TV sponsor.
In the 1960’s, Firestone struggled to compete with other tire companies which lead to them being bought out by Bridgestone in the 1980’s.
Who Is The Owner Of Firestone?
The current company that owns Firestone Tire and Rubber Company is the Bridgestone Corporation.
The American division of the Bridgestone Corporation is called Bridgestone Americas.
In the 1980’s, Bridgestone purchased Firestone for $1.25 billion dollars.
Currently, Bridgestone makes Firestone products at one of their many plants.
Bridgestone is one of the largest tire manufacturing conglomerates in the tire industry.
Not only does Bridgestone make vehicle tires, they also make aircraft tires, motorcycle tires, commercial tires, off-road tires, and golf equipment.
Bridgestone’s mission statement is to “Serve society with with superior quality”. Bridgestone headquarters is based out of Japan and also offices located in the United States, Belgium, and Singapore.
Why Did Bridgestone Buy Firestone?
There are a number of reasons Bridgestone thought it was a worthy endeavor to purchase Firestone tire.
The first reason Bridgestone bought Firestone was because of market expansion. As a Japanese company, Bridgestone was looking to expand into the US market and saw a great opportunity to do so in purchasing Firestone.
The second reason was synergy. Bridgestone and Firestones’ product line were somewhat similar, therefore once the purchase was complete, integration between product lines would be easier than implementing a whole new product line.
The third reason was brand recognition. By the 1980’s Firestone company was already a household name and Bridgestone saw an opportunity to own that brand recognition.
This reason alone was most likely the reason that Bridgestone did not change the name of Firestone tire, and kept the name as is.
In the tire business, brand name is important since people swear by their brand or that brand.
For example, I’m sure you have your own favorite tire company you swear by.
If Bridgestone changed the name of Firestone, all of the brand recognition that Harvey Firestone built up through the 1900’s would have been wasted with the renaming of Firestone's product lines.
Lastly, Bridgestone’s purchase of Firestone allowed Bridgestone to diversify its own tires by offering different products to its customers.
Once the purchase was complete, Bridgestone could reduce its dependency on the Japanese market and start marketing towards a global audience.
These reasons are the reasons why Bridgestone purchased Firestone in the 1980’s for $1.25 billion dollars.
Bridgestone Vs Firestone
Since Bridgestone owns Firestone, but has not changed the name, tires sit on shelves right next to each other, almost competing to be placed on your vehicle.
So should you put Firestone tires on your vehicle? Or should you put Bridgestone Tires on your vehicle?
In my opinion, working in tire shops that have sold both Bridgestone and Firestone, I’d say Bridgestone offers more variety for your vehicle.
They offer different price points and features. For example, Firestone Tire company offers a few base models meant to fit many different types of vehicles while Bridgestone offers many different tire lines meant for different types of exact fit.
For example, Bridgestone has tires meant for Minivans, tires that are quiet, and tires that perform well in different weather while Firestone has just a few select models that perform well across all fields.
So for simplicity's sake, I’d say go with Firestone. But if you know exactly what you want from a tire, I’d say go for the exact Bridgestone you want that will offer you all the performance points and tips you can want.
While yes they are all the same company, and the product lines are very similar, Bridgestone does seem to offer more tailor suited use cases for tires while Firestone offers use cases suited for more general needs.
The Firestone Brand has been synonymous with American industrialism since the 1900’s. It’s very foundations is built right into American history.
Firestone began producing its first tires since then and has been successful at this feat.
Firestone, even after being bought out by Bridgestone has been successful as marketing and keeping its good name.
Bridgestone, even after the purchase, has deemed its endeavor into purchasing Firestone a wild success.
Firestone established itself, but once Bridgestone bought them, they were able to use a global infrastructure to truly push a million tires.
Harvey Firestones partnership with the Ford Motor company really cemented Firestone’s place in American industrialism and had a huge role into turning Firestone into what it is today.
The Firestone Tire Rubber company isn’t just a tire factory, but a truly world wide conglomerate that has shaped world politics from its role in World War II to it’s great advances in tire technology today.
For example, once the Bridgestone and Firestone merger was complete, the Technical center opened which has laid the path for many great innovations in making tires today.
The manufacturing plant that Bridgestone operates in the United States is home to this center.
Firestone Complete Auto Care
Firestone and Bridgestone isn’t just a collection of rubber companies.
Firestone still offers vehicle repair all throughout the United States of America.
Firestone Complete auto care is what their service center division is called.
If you bring your vehicle to a service center, not only can you have tires installed, you can get any aspect of your vehicle repaired including everything from engine replacement to oil changes.
The majority of tires sold at their service centers are Firestone Tires but, you can get any tires you want installed at the service center.
Firestone tires are preferable, but they also sell Pirellis, Michillens, and more.
The service centers employ all types of mechanics from alignment technicians to master technicians so you can be sure your car is in good hands when you bring it into a Firestone service center.
About The Author
Christopher Sparks has been servicing vehicles since 2012. After completing the automotive studies program at Camden County College, he was awarded an Associates's Degree in Applied Science. His first job was a lube-tech at Jiffy Lube, and is currently an independent B-Technician servicing vehicles for the United States Postal Service. Christopher is ASE certified and loves rebuilding engines.Read more about Christopher Sparks