For nearly 90 years, Bridgestone has provided premium products and services to the world’s leading Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). In 2019, Bridgestone remained the number one choice for BMW, Audi, SEAT and Toyota, while continuing to serve as primary supplier for manufacturers including Volkswagen, Skoda and Mercedes.
As the world’s largest tyre and rubber company and the industry’s leading investor in research and development, car manufacturers sought Bridgestone’s expertise and dedication on various partnerships throughout the year – from ground-breaking CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric) projects to the key performance benefits of new tyre technologies and solutions, such as the innovative Enliten technology. As a result of these strong partnerships, Bridgestone was successful in providing approximately 100 new original fitments in EMEA, spread across more than 50 different models from 14 manufacturers. In addition, the company saw fitments for tyres with a diameter of 18” or greater (HDR+) grow by over 10 percent from 2018.
In 2019, Bridgestone pioneered a new lightweight tyre technology, Enliten, to help address global mobility challenges around sustainability.
Engineered with the environment front of mind, Enliten enables tyres to have a super low rolling resistance – a key factor in a vehicle’s fuel efficiency and battery use – while requiring less materials to be created – reducing the tyre’s environmental footprint and also improving fuel efficiency or battery range. In 2019, Enliten was brought to the roads for the first time on Volkswagen’s new, all-electric ID.3 and the Audi RS Q3. 2020 will see Bridgestone work to bring Enliten’s benefits to even more models and manufacturers.
A record-breaking partnership
No matter how great the challenge, Bridgestone is committed to helping its OEM partners achieve their goals. This year was no different, with the company developing record-breaking tyres for the likes of Volkswagen and Renault.
Bridgestone and Volkswagen’s long-time partnership was put to the test on the racetrack in 2019. Custom-engineered Bridgestone Potenza tyres were specially developed for Volkswagen’s electric supercar, the ID.R. The tyres delivered the confidence and performance to help Volkswagen break the world famous Nürburgring-Nordschleife’s EV track record by 40.56 seconds.
Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy-R also broke an Nürburgring record on high performance Potenza S007 tyres, showcasing the prowess of Bridgestone tyres, and the company’s dedication to its partners.
Developing CASE and space mobility
As technology and global challenges evolve, Bridgestone is investing in the future. In addition to its new Enliten lightweight tyre technology, the company’s proprietary technologies, such as B-Silent reducing in-vehicle noise, B-Seal and Run-Flat Technology for continuous mobility and ologic technology lowering rolling resistance, are helping meet new mobility demands and responding to the requirements of OEMs to help make CASE and sustainable mobility a reality for all.
In 2019, SEAT chose to apply Bridgestone’s renowned ologic technology to equip its Minimó electric concept car. The small two-passenger, all-electric vehicle is engineered to adapt to the mobility platforms that will shape the future of urban driving. The year also saw bespoke Bridgestone Connect ‘smart’ tyres, which relay information on tyre load, pressures, grip level and tyre health to the interior screens, custom developed for Nissan’s IMQ EV concept vehicle.
Bridgestone Corporation also partnered with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota to commit to an international space exploration mission. Bridgestone will help explore the mobility challenges and performance needs of tyres for use on manned, pressurized rovers to help them make better contact with the surface of the moon.
Commenting on Bridgestone’s achievements in 2019 was Mark Tejedor, VP Original Equipment, Bridgestone EMIA: “Sustainability, CASE mobility and partnerships were three huge focuses for us in 2019. Which is no surprise – these are the crucial ingredients needed for a smarter, more efficient future of mobility. Through innovating and taking on new and demanding challenges – alongside great partners working under a similar vision to meet similar goals – we’ll bring this era of mobility to life. I have no doubt that we will go even further in meeting this goal in 2020.”