- So Bridgestone is a combination of two words, bridge and stone. A bridge is something that you put over water and stone is something that you can throw at somebody in case you really wanna hurt them. So Bridgestone Tire was founded by a man named Shojiro Ishibashi in 1931. Shojiro was an entrepreneur. At 17 years old, he took over his family clothing business. He specialized in making all sorts of different stuff for feet and clothing. Shojiro had an idea, an idea that he wanted to get into the tire rubber making business, because, in Japan, it really hadn't taken off as much as a lot of other countries had taken off with it. Countries like the United States of America was already getting heavily involved in motorized vehicles at the time, and Japan was kind of well, behind. So Shojiro saw an opportunity to grow the tire business by founding his own company. The money that was funded for Bridgestone at the time came from his original clothing business with his family. And, by the time that he actually got involved into tires, they didn't really actually have a tire company. The first Bridgestone tire was made on April ninth of 1930 under the sock division of Shojiro's company at the time. It wasn't until a whole year later that the actual Bridgestone tire name was founded and created for the tire rubber making business. At the time, there wasn't a whole lot that you could base your company off of, you can't go on Google and research how to improve management techniques, when you've never really done a business like this before. And Bridgestone just continued to survive and tried to grow up every single thing as fast as they could. But because of Shojiro and the way that Bridgestone was built, they just focused on trying to be the most truthful to themselves and making the best company they could based on the Japanese values that their old companies have had. Now, if you're listening and you're like 18 years old, and it sounds really cheesy to talk about traditional Japanese values, you probably aren't taking it too seriously. But, if you are in management or know of operations, you know how insane the Japanese culture can be when it comes to running businesses and being involved with family. And because the Japanese culture was so strict and just so prominent in their business for Bridgestone, they continued to push through with what they knew what they had to do, which involved buckling down, working harder and sometimes, just hammering in until they figured out a product that would work. And it wasn't until the forties that they started to see a whole lot of growth. Things didn't really get much easier for Bridgestone in the forties, because if you don't remember, there's a couple of things that happened in Japan between 1941 and 1945. Bridgestone was hit with all sorts of war time effort, and what turned out to be a tire rubber manufacturing plant turned into a war time manufacturing plant during World War Two. Because of its international affairs, a lot of its international assets were seized, and Bridgestone was left with a lot of crumbling factories due to just aerial attacks and everything in between that World War Two had, a pretty much no money. Between losing their Tokyo headquarters and international assets, Bridgestone didn't seem like it was going to survive for very long. But, then going back to what Bridgestone was good at, Shojiro just decided that they were gonna hunker down and go back to what made Bridgestone Bridgestone, which was making tires and revolutionizing what they knew in the Japanese market that other companies couldn't do. So, they got involved with bicycle tires, and introduced the rayon cord tire in 1951 to push ahead the tire industry into something new. Bridgestone desperately needed something, and they introduced the rayon cord tire, which ended up being an extremely successful tire in the early fifties.
By 1953, Bridgestone had managed to acquire over ten million yen, which, at the time, was a pretty good chunk of change, considering that their company had been continuously getting beaten down by everything around them. Bridgestone continued to grow into the 1960s and in 1961, they finally realized they needed a new management style. Now there was nothing wrong with the way Shojiro was doing it, but the company had grown to a point where they need something new. And Bridgestone continued to capitalize on everything that they knew that they could succeed with, because they really were the underdog at the time. Yeah, they were huge, they had factories all over the place, they were doing all sorts of crazy stuff, but in the grand scheme of things, Bridgestone did have a lot to work off of in terms to who they were gonna compete with when they eventually got back into the international market, and it wasn't looking good. So, Bridgestone was finally certainly getting a little bit ahead of the competition, but if there's ever a way that Bridgestone could roll any more bad luck, they did it again. In 1973, you had the oil crisis that shut the entire rubber industry and put the entire ti... (laughs) put the entire tire market. (swoosh) put the entire tire market at an incredible standstill. Bridgestone had money to work with at the time, but ultimately they really didn't have anything that they could do. They ultimately ended up developing research and R&D departments because they didn't wanna make tires and the entire company pretty much stood still and tried to manage the 1973 oil crisis as well as it could. These guys had like terrible luck. And finally, Bridgestone released something entirely new, the RE 47. The RE 47 was an ultra-high performance tire, it was a Potenza series tire, which is still a line that Bridgestone uses to this day. And for the time, it was actually pretty monumental considering that there weren't a lot of options when it came to ultra-high performance back in the late seventies. Finally, Bridgestone was finally starting to come up with products that helped aid in the competition against other huge companies in the world. And while all seemed well and good, Shojiro ultimately passed away in September eleventh of 1976.
This led the company and the board of directors pretty much to Ishibashi and his co partner to lead the Bridgestone company until today. Bridgestone grew overseas and inevitably began to acquire other tire businesses in the world. Now you have to remember in the tire market, there is a ton of competition, especially when you're considering companies like Goodyear and Sumitomo. They just wanted to be the top three, they didn't even want to be number one. And, in 1988, Firestone was officially acquired by the Bridgestone name brand, Firestone Bridgestone. Firestone was acquired by Bridgestone, they essentially got a hold of pretty much everything, because that's what Bridgestone needed to essentially go from being in ant place wherever they were, to third to second place. They became of the largest tire manufacturers in the world because of the Firestone acquisition. They didn't close any plants, they didn't do anything to really change the game, they just needed more. And Firestone gave them the opportunity to grow into one of the biggest companies in the world. Bridgestone then entered the motor sports era and became involved in pretty much everything from Formula One to the Indianapolis 500. Bridgestone had a lot that they could work with, and they just wanted to continue to grow. But one of the coolest things about the fact that Bridgestone was essentially getting bigger, is that they didn't face a lot of the internal struggles that a lot of other companies did at the time. Bridgestone was built on these family values that Shojiro desperately wanted the company to thrive off of and because of his, essentially, integration throughout the birth of this company, it stays true still to this day. Bridgestone ultimately got involved in everything from passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, specialty tires, and commercial tires, because, well, they could. And they had plants all over the world, whether you're looking at Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, or Japan itself, because of their acquisition with Firestone, Bridgestone could make anything and everything. And while their pretense is the most common, their Blizzaks are the best. Number one. Don't even ask me. Don't even question my decision. Blizzaks are the best for everybody that lives in Wisconsin, WS 80s, or bust. Because winter tires are the best tires you can buy, hands down. Blizzak, if you're out there, WS80.
We're gonna do a giveaway, so all you have to do, we'll have you subscribe, and then drop a comment saying that you subscribed, and if you're on Facebook and you're watching this, all you have to do is share. We'll pick one from Facebook, and we'll pick one from YouTube. So we give away two of these. So all you have to do is drop a comment below saying that you subscribed, or just share the post. That seems pretty simple, right? So we hope you enjoyed, check out fitmentindustries.com if you're interested in picking up Bridgestone tires or if you're just looking for real tire suspension or air lift, we have over 30,000 products, but I'm Alan for Fitment Industries, we'll see you later. Peace.
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