Patron Interview: Melinda Topolcsik, GM of Bridgestone

  • December 19, 2018
"Being an AmCham member allows us to make our voice heard more effectively and to facilitate collaboration between the industry and education institutions, which has the utmost importance to face the challenges of the current labour market."

Why is Hungary a good place to do business?

Melinda Topolcsik: From Bridgestone’s, the world’s largest tyre manufacturer’s point of view Hungary, together with the neighboring Slovakia, are the “new Detroit”, since nearly all leading international car manufacturers are present and car production per capita is one of the highest in the world, and is still on the rise. Bridgestone Tatabánya, with its excellent logistical capabilities, highly expertised Hungarian team and digital production technologies is well positioned to serve this growth out of Tatabánya.

What would you like to see change to improve the business climate here?

MT: We do think that the business climate in Hungary is good, the government and the local authorities are really investor friendly. We think however that the supply of talents, well educated, skilled and trained professionals might become an issue and barrier of future growth. We see the efforts taken by the decision makers to prevent such case, but it certainly requires more attention and actions that are sustainable in the long run as well.

What do you most value about being an AmCham Patron member?

MT: AmCham is certainly the most effective and most impactful business chamber in Hungary, with a very diverse membership. We do value the opportunities that AmCham offers for its members to connect with each other, regardless of their size and their industry. Being an AmCham member also allows us to make our voice heard more effectively and to facilitate collaboration between the industry and education institutions, which has utmost importance to face the challenges of the current labour market.

Bridgestone Tatabánya Manufacturing Ltd.

Bridgestone Tatabánya Manufacturing Ltd. has been operating in Hungary since 2006, and today is one of largest tyre plants in the country. Since its foundation, the number of its employees has more than tripled. Production began in 2008 with 361 employees. Today, close to 1.200 people are engaged in the production of Bridgestone’s world-famous brands. The company manufactures ultra-high performance car and SUV tyres in over 230 sizes for vehicles mainly in the premium category. The range of products manufactured at the 144.000 sqm Tatabánya plant includes the DriveGuard, Turanza and Potenza from the Bridgestone brand and the Roadhawk, Winterhawk and Destination from the Firestone brand. They have approximately 750 suppliers, mostly Hungarian SMEs, from which the company has procured goods and services in the value of 4.6 billion Forints last year. In 2017, the company’s annual sales exceeded 53 billion HUF, 99% of which derived from exports. Bridgestone Tatabánya Manufacturing Ltd. is part of Bridgestone Europe, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tyre and rubber company. Bridgestone Europe operates in more than 60 countries and has over 18.300 employees. Across the region it has 15 tyre and tyre related plants as well as a major R&D centre and a proving ground.”

This interview appeared in the January 2019 issue of Journal, AmCham's official magazine. To access all issues of Journal, please click here.