Bridgestone Firestone has announced it will triple its annual investment in its South African operation to about $US15 million this year, writes Dave Cumming.

Local chairman Takashi Wada says this will be the basis of an aggressive drive to gain greater export business in Africa and through providing OE supplies to companies exporting vehicles to Europe, the US, Japan and Australia.

He says the company is negotiating with Nissan, Delta (General Motors), and Ford for a greater share of their business and hopes to gain increased business from BMW for their export models and the new Toyota Corolla, which will be exported from South Africa later this year to markets including Australia and Japan.

Wada said it was his goal to make the South African company the largest Bridgestone Firestone operation outside the US and Europe.

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