Tokyo – Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd (SRI) is to double production capacity for passenger car and light truck tires at its US plant in Tonawanda, New York to 10,000 tires per day by the end of 2019.
The move will enhance SRI’s ability to produce tires locally for the North American market, especially SUV tires, which are in high demand there, said its 5 Aug announcement.
SRI said it had already started transferring production from its plant in Amati City, Thailand to Tonawanda, where it currently produces tires for passenger cars and light trucks, trucks and buses and motorcycles.
“By increasing our proportion of locally produced tires and cutting sales lead times, we aim to expand our overall tire sales in North America,” explained SR, which plans to invest $87 million (€79 million) on factory upgrades to increase production capacity and productivity.
The investment relates, in part, to the ending of SRI’s longstanding global alliance with Goodyear last October,. This, said the Japanese company, has given it more freedom in conducting business in North America.
The company lists the current capacity of the US plant at 4.6 million tires/year and employment there at 1,198 as of the end of 2015. The tire-making facility, which dates back to 1923, was until recently operated by Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America Ltd.
SRI said it would “continue expanding local production for local consumption in order to reduce sales lead times while enhancing our ability to supply high-performance SUV tires, environmentally friendly fuel-efficient tires and other high-value-added tires to customers in North America.”