Tire Business staff report
Macon, Georgia -- South Korea's Kumho Tire Co. Inc. has selected a site near Macon for its first tyre plant in North America, a $225 million (Euro 150 million) passenger and light truck tyre factory due on stream by year-end 2009.
Kumho, the 10th largest tyre maker worldwide, expects to break ground in May on phase one of a 510 000 m2. factory that will feature a Kumho-developed automated tyre manufacturing technology. The plant will be built on 127 acres (51 ha) in Sofkee Industrial Park near Macon.
The plant, the company's seventh worldwide, will be built in two phases. The first phase, encompassing annual capacity for 2.1 million tyres, should be on stream by year-end 2009, Kumho said. It will represent an investment of $165 million and create 400 jobs.
A second phase, budgeted at $60 million, will boost capacty to 3.1 million tyres and create about 50 more jobs when it's completed in 2011, the company said.
Kumho announced the deal yesterday in Macon with CEO Sae Chul Oh and Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue in attendance. Also attending were Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert and Charlie Bishop, chairman of the Bibb County Board of Commissioners.
â€œThe US is one of the greatest tyre markets in the world,â€ Mr. Oh said. â€œSetting a base of production here will help Kumho gain more market share. This new plant will help Kumho reduce freight costs and will also set up a stronger base for the company to achieve its goal of becoming the fifth largest tyre company in the world by 2015.â€
Kumho cited several reasons for its site selection, including state and local incentives, low labor costs and proximity to transportation and customers.
â€œKumho Tires' decision to locate its first US manufacturing facility in Bibb County is a testament to the central Georgia work force,â€ Mr. Bishop said. He lauded the efforts of the Bibb County Board of Commissioners, the Bibb County Board of Education, the Macon Bibb County Industrial Authority and the Macon Water Authority for helping seal the deal.
Kumho reported US sales of $565 million last year.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)
Press release from Kumho