Bridgestone has just launched the Firestone brand of tyres in the country. Founded in Ohio in 1900 and acquired by Bridgestone in 1988, Firestone will begin operations in India with two sets of products–the FR500 for passenger cars and the Destination LE02 for SUVs. Through its 116 years of operation, Firestone was used in the first Ford Model Ts. During World War II, the rubber company supplied artillery shells, aluminium kegs for food transport and other rubberised military products. Many racecars running Firestones went on to win the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. The brand also supplied tyres for Formula One until 1974.
The FR500, available in 24 sizes, from 12 to 16-inch rim diameters, comes with a double ply construction for the sidewall and wide shoulder blocks, which are made resistant to wear and tear. High angle slots and grooves have been added to channel water and prevent hydroplaning, while a network of low angle slots allows better traction, says Bridgestone. The Destination LE02, available in three sizes for 15 and 16-inch rims has been designed for external shocks that SUVs may be subject to. The tread pattern consists of a centre cross sipe to improve wet grip, while block stiffness takes care of traction. A sturdier Destination A/T tyre too will be launched next year. There are currently no original equipment tie-ups between Firestone and any car manufacturer in India.Separate brand showrooms will be opened in 2017.
Firestone FR500 Rs 2,200 onwards and Destination LE02 Rs 5,500 onwards