Reflecting on the past year, we at Bridgestone are proud of the steps made in collaboration with our partners, some of the world’s foremost car manufacturers, towards achieving our vision for a more sustainable, CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric)-oriented future of mobility.
It was a pivotal year, filled with innovation and record-breaking performances; we pioneered cutting-edge tyre technologies, spearheaded exciting CASE mobility projects addressing global macro trends impacting our industry and world, and brought over 100 new original equipment fitments to the roads in our region.
We achieved a lot, but none of it would have been possible without collaboration. In 2019, we strengthened our long-term partnerships with leading car manufacturers and grew those more recent, providing our tools and expertise to help deliver time and again throughout the year.
Here are some of our standout moments from 2019.
In 2019, we once again went the extra mile to deliver premium products and services to the world’s leading car manufacturers. We held our position as the number one choice for BMW, Audi, SEAT and Toyota, while serving as primary supplier for many further manufacturers, including Volkswagen, Skoda and Mercedes.
As a result of these strong partnerships, we provided approximately 100 new original fitments in EMEA, spread across more than 50 different models. We also saw the market for fitments with a diameter of 18” or greater (HRD+) grow by over 10 percent from 2018.
One of the highlights from last year was the launch of our new, lightweight tyre technology, Enliten.
Engineered to help address global mobility challenges around sustainability, Enliten enables tyres to have a super low rolling resistance – a key factor in a vehicle’s fuel efficiency and battery use. It also requires less materials to be created1, an added benefit that reduces the environmental footprint of tyre manufacturing, while also contributing to the improved fuel efficiency and battery range.
In 2019, Enliten hit the roads for the first time on Volkswagen’s new, all-electric ID.3 and the Audi RS Q3. 2020 will see us work to bring Enliten’s benefits to even more models and manufacturers.
No matter how great the challenge, we’re always committed to helping our partners achieve their goals – be it on the road or the racetrack. So, when both Volkswagen and Renault Sport came to us looking for tyres that could help their vehicles drive their way into the history books, we can safely say we delivered record-breaking performance.
On custom-engineered Bridgestone Potenza tyres, Volkswagen’s electric supercar, the I.D. R, broke Germany’s world famous Nürburgring’s electric vehicle track record by an incredible 40.56 seconds. And Renault Sport had similar ambitions. On high performance Potenza S007 tyres, the Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy-R broke the Nürburgring’s front wheel drive lap record by 3.77 seconds.
We’re continually working to meet new mobility demands and help car manufacturers make CASE and sustainable mobility a reality for all road users. With technologies and global challenges constantly evolving, never have the benefits of this new era of mobility been so important. That’s why, in addition to our new Enliten lightweight tyre technology, we continued to develop our growing range of innovative technologies in 2019.
From our in-vehicle noise reducing B-Silent tyre technology, to B-Seal and Run-Flat Technology for continuous mobility, and our renowned ologic tyre technology – lowering rolling resistance – last year saw our teams work tirelessly to take these technologies to the next level.
These efforts didn’t go unnoticed by our partners. We worked with SEAT to apply our ologic technology to equip its Minimó all-electric concept car, which itself is engineered to adapt to the future of urban driving. We also custom-developed bespoke Bridgestone Connect ‘smart’ tyres, which relay information on tyre load, pressures, grip level and tyre health to the driver, for Nissan’s IMQ EV concept vehicle.
2019 also marked the beginning of a very exciting collaboration that will see us take the Bridgestone name to the stars. That’s right, we’re heading to outer space! In 2019, Bridgestone Corporation committed to partnering with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota on a unique international space exploration mission. We’ll be exploring the mobility challenges and performance needs of tyres for use on manned, pressurised rovers to help them make better contact with the surface of the moon. Keep an eye out for more to come on that on.
We made great strides toward achieving our goals in 2019. But 2020 promises to be even better. With exciting new developments already underway – including the prospect of bringing the benefits of Enliten and our other innovative tyre technologies to even more road users – we’re set to make with our partners significant progress towards a smarter, more efficient and sustainable future of mobility.
Watch out for some big announcements from us over the coming months.
1 Enliten reduces rolling resistance by, on average, 20 percent from a standard premium summer touring OE fitment, and weight by 10 percent, which also means that less material resources are used in manufacturing. Based on Bridgestone internal tests according to ISO28580 procedure considering Bridgestone Turanza T005 205/55R16 91H and Bridgestone Turanza T005 255/40R20 101W.
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic restricting most non-essential travel and movement, driving has taken a backseat for many.
In 2018, we announced that three of our tyre plants in Spain – Bilbao, Puente San Miguel and Burgos – had begun sourcing 100 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources.