Bridgeston/Firestone Canada, has announced that it is pumping an additional $36 million into its Joliette, Que. facility to acquire new equipment for various production lines. The project, which is receiving $2.5 million in financial support from Investissement Quebec, is presently under way and should be completed by July 2002. Of the 11 Bridgestone/Firestone tire manufacturing plants in North America, the Joliette facility is the only one based in Canada. Inaugurated in October 1966 by Firestone, the facility has produced over 81 million tires for automobile manufacturers and consumers. Since Bridgestone/Firestone acquired the plant in 1989, it has invested $275 million in it. Through the latest investment, the plant will be able to extend the line of tires it produces (sizes and private brands) for cars, light trucks and sport utility vehicles. “The Quebec government is proud to support the Bridgestone/Firestone Joliette plant since the impact of this project will be very important for Quebec, particularly for the Lanaudiere region. Through this project, Bridgestone/Firestone is not only preserving the 1,000 existing jobs at its Joliette plant, but also stands firmly behind its commitment to the development of the regional economy as it has done for many years”, declared Transport Minister and Joliette MNA Guy Chevrette, on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State, Economy and Finance Pauline Marois. The plant General Manager Yves Malouin emphasizes that “this investment truly confirms the Joliette facility as a world-class plant. We’re reaping the rewards of our workforce’s expertise, our close relationship with the union, and our employees’ commitment to producing the highest quality tires. "We’ll soon be better equipped than ever to face the increasingly fierce competition,” explained Malouin. “We’ll also be using the investment to maintain and enhance our high quality standards, and to prepare for what we see as the future needs of our customers." He says that the investment will allow the company to increase its market share. "This innovative plant has earned a reputation for its sound expertise and its ability to integrate and implement new technology efficiently. Because it’s so streamlined, it can adapt to change very quickly,” added Yves Malouin. With a surface area of over 1 million square feet (94,000 square meters), the plant employs over 1,000 people and produces 15,000 tires daily, 90% of which are for export.