London – Supplier of sport tires DMACK is planning to build a new tire plant in the UK in a bid to up its game in the World Rally Championships, according to a senior official of the firm.
The project is roughly estimated to cost £300 million (€394 million), although feasibility studies are still incomplete and a final figure is not determined.
“We are going through a period of development and evolution and are planning to improve our brand to compete with the likes of Pirelli and Michelin,” communications director Glenn Patterson told ERJ.
DMACK made its entry to the motor sport in 2011, mainly producing tires in partnership with China’s Shandong Yongtai Chemical Group, in Dongyng.
“The company currently manufactures a small amount of tires in the UK, at Cooper Tire’s factory in Melksham, Wiltshire. But we plan to increase our capacity for premium tires in the UK and that’s why we are building the plant,” explained Patterson.
Carlisle, a town in north-west England close to the Scottish border, is potentially one of the locations for the plant. An alternative, undisclosed, location is southern England is also under consideration.
According to Patterson, the new plant will also be manufacturing passenger car tires in addition to motor sport tires, and is scheduled to take “a couple of years” to build.
“We are expecting to employ 500 people by the time we are running at full capacity,” he added.
Patterson did not give a breakdown of the planned tire production or the total capacity of the plant, but local news service In-Cumbria on-line has suggested a final production capacity of 2 million units a year.
“We are still holding key meetings and within the next six to eight weeks we should know better,” said Patterson, when asked about the selection of technology-suppliers for the project.
Finnish tire consulting company Black Donuts is advising DMACK on the design and engineering of the plant, which according to Patterson will be a state-of-the-art unit.