Prospective Bridgestone and Firestone tire buyers may want to purchase sooner rather than later.

Bowing to high energy and commodity prices, Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC and Bridgestone/Firestone Canada Inc. has slated sweeping price hikes on its replacement, original equipment and export tires starting January 1, 2005. Truck and bus tire prices may see increases of up to 7%; passenger cars and light trucks, 5%; and agricultural and off-the-road tires a whopping 10%.

“Our tire companies are facing an unprecedented continuation of rising raw material prices on a number of different fronts,” said Mark Emkes, CEO & chairman of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc.

“From steel to petroleum to rubber chemicals, we have seen cost increases that simply can not be offset by the increases in efficiencies and productivity that we have implemented at all levels of our company,” Emkes added. “The action we announced today is a necessary step in addressing these escalating costs.”

This will mark another round of mark ups since the company's "across the board" 5% hike effective on June 1. Steep energy and commodity prices were also cited for the previous increase.

See Bridgestone Ups Tire Prices 5%.

In other Bridgestone/Firestone news, the company has added three new tire sizes (11R22.5, 11R24.5 and 285/75R24.5) to its Bridgestone R287 steer and Bridgestone M726 EL drive radials lineups.

The Bridgestone M726 EL drive radial offers an extra-deep 32/32” tread that contributes to extended tire life and superior traction, the company said.

The Bridgestone R287 steer radial uses an advanced tread compound designed to be stiffer and to resist abrasion that occurs during hard braking and cornering. Also featured is the Bridgestone Side Groove, which helps prevent edge and wavy wear and shoulder tearing, the company said. An Equalizer Rib resists edge wear on the main ribs.

For more information, contact Bridgestone/Firestone at 800-543-7522 or visit www.trucktires.com.