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Bridgestone may build tire factory in Russia to supply Toyota

Bridgestone Corp., the world's second-largest tiremaker, may build a plant in Russia to supply Japanese automakers, which are opening car assembly factories. „We have been considering our plans for Russia including a production site,” said Fusamaro Iijima, a Tokyo-based Bridgestone spokesman. The company has not reached a decision, he said. Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., Japan's two largest automakers, plan to build factories in Russia, where eight years of economic growth is spurring demand for new vehicles. Toyota's plant in Russia will open next year and Nissan's will start operations in 2009.
Bridgestone runs 46 tire factories in 23 countries and plans to build five new ones by 2009. The company will open a factory in Poland to make radial tires for trucks and buses in 2009. Bridgestone, which competes with Michelin & Cie., will build a plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Russian newspaper Vedomosti said yesterday, citing city unidentified city officials. It will build the facility near a car factory Nissan is building, the newspaper said. Toyota's factory is also located in St. Petersburg. Russians bought 61% more new foreign cars in the H1, according to a survey by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Russians bought 318,000 imported new cars in the six months ended June 30, compared with 197,000 a year earlier, the survey showed. Bridgestone shares fell 1.2% to 2,380 yen as of 12:40 p.m. in Tokyo. (Bloomberg)