The decision by Bridgestone to pull out of Formula One was of little consequence to the average person, and least of all, the daily driver. (Toyota’s departure from F1 didn’t affect the daily driver either.)
While motorsport is a romantic element of the automotive industry, the core business is, has been and will always be in the passenger car sector.
If it’s ever possible to quantify, we could argue that the ratio of driver-demands to cost is the highest with passenger car drivers. Their knowledge of tyres might be limited, but they form the majority of tyre customers worldwide. (By the way, good tyres don’t come cheap.)
As the world’s biggest tyre manufacturer, Bridgestone produces tyres for everything from forklift trucks to supercars, but concentrates most heavily on the mid-market that encompasses the Camrys and E-Classes of the world.
Incidentally, the company once manufactured tyres in Singapore for locally assembled cars, with the RD-20 radial being a hugely popular tyre model for those upgrading from cross-ply in the old days. Since then, Bridgestone has gradually expanded its presence in the region with substantial investments in Thailand. The Nong Khae plant outside of Bangkok is a major OEM tyre supplier to the Thai automotive industry, while also producing a range of tyres for the replacement market.