Bridgestone has raised its long-term sales and operating income targets, despite the increasingly difficult outlook for the automotive sector.

It has unveiled its latest rolling five-year vision for the business, an exercise in does every year. Its latest mid-term management plan 2008 (MTP2008) covers the period 2009 through 2013, one year on from MTP2007 (2008-2012).

In it the company said it forecast ROA of 6% in 2012 as planned in MTP2007.

"Efforts will be made to further elevate this figure to a higher level in 2013," the new plan stated. Bridgestone was also looking to secure net sales of JPY4.3 trillion in 2012. In terms of net sales, Bridgestone aims to exceed its MTP2007 goal of JPY4.0 trillion with JPY4.3 trillion in 2012. Bridgestone will seek to attain an even higher level in 2013, it said.

The plan also called on the company to realise operating income of JPY410bn in 2012.

"Bridgestone will strive to realise operating income over the JPY400bn mark set in MTP2007 and achieve JPY410 bn as of 2012. Again, Bridgestone will work toward the higher level in 2013," the statement said.

Chief executive Shoshi Arakawa told a news conference yesterday that the company expected continued strong growth in demand for cars in the developing world, centred on the BRIC countries. He added that the medium-term and longer term demand for tyres would be strong.

In the plan, the company also said it would further enhance its eco-friendly products.

"With regard to tyres, Bridgestone will accelerate development of ECOPIA product lines that are equipped with technology which reduces rolling resistance as a means to provide more fuel-efficient tyres and contribute to reductions in carbon dioxide emissions," the company said.

Additionally, Bridgestone said it would "aggressively invest" in solar modules, where it sees strong growth.

The company added that it had determined the positioning of each of its businesses in order to address and implement its strategy of "selection and concentration".

In businesses marked for "concentration," Bridgestone said it would "vigorously invest management resources and focus on promising product groups with a view towards globalisation."

But the company also said that it would withdraw from "selected" businesses, while prioritising consideration of customers and business partners.

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