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Bridgestone New Product Introduction and Demonstration
Evaluating Product at Phoenix International Raceway
by Jim Bennett

Company and Event Overview
Incorporation Of Advanced Tire Technology
UNIT-T AQ Introduction at Phoenix
Road Performance
EVALUATIONS AND IMPRESSIONS
Business Perspective
Technology Comments

As Bridgestone/Firestone moves into 2001, I learned Bridgestone would lead the way with public advertising and promotional initiatives such as "The Distinction Is Bridgestone" advertising campaign. This will be followed by selected metro market and regional "Learn and Drive" events where participants can experience Bridgestone tires against competitive brands similar to this week's evaluations.

Racing heritage and consumer useable technology performance will be emphasized through expanded advertising to traditional and new customers. In the spring, a movie tie-in with Sylvester Stallone's "Driven" movie will feature NASCAR racing, high energy MTV like advertising messages and point of purchase displays of Sly himself dressed it a Nextel drivers suit. Is this an increased attempt to garner a larger share of the huge domestic vehicle tire market for the premium tire maker?

The company's multi-brand strategy continues to be implemented in 2001. I believe the untarnished Bridgestone image will be used in part to revitalize the Firestone brand for the foreseeable future. Both share a racing heritage; a common development and manufacturing processes and the replacement/upgrade markets in the US represent huge new markets.

The Firestone strategy will probably evolve as events unfold, but a consumer tire maintenance and educational effort is underway now. Automotive and motor sports venues are good places to start. The actual performance and technical capability of the UNI-T AQ technology that I just experienced is not a bad place to start either.

Technology Comments

EVALUATIONS AND IMPRESSIONS

Dated: February 12, 2001


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Copyright 2001 Jim Bennett
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