Osaka, Japan –Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. has cranked up focus on North America a notch, with the expansion of its R&D centre in the region and setting up a dedicated a business development unit for the market.
In a statement on 11 Jan, the company said it expected to complete the expansion of its R&D capabilities at its manufacturing facility in White, Georgia, during 2017.
The expansion will build upon the product development capabilities, and the resources and personnel, at the existing Toyo Tire North America R&D department.
The group’s North American tire manufacturing base was established in 2005 and supplies the market with tires developed in collaboration with the Toyo’s R&D headquarters, tire technical centre, in Itami City, Hyogo, Japan.
The expansion of the local R&D capabilities will involve increasing staff at each stage, from product planning, to product design, to commercialisation.
The plan, said Toyo, is to increase the number of R&D staff by 50%, to introduce equipment to measure and evaluate the static and dynamic properties of the tire, and to accelerate product evaluation and feedback into the development process.
Toyo expects the added capability will put it in a better position to expedite development of both original equipment and replacement tires that more closely meets customer needs.
Toyo’s North America facility completed its Phase 4 plant expansion in 2016, increasing annual production capacity to 11.5 million tires, making it Toyo Tire group’s largest tire manufacturing facility.
The company has also created a North America business development division at its Osaka, Japan headquarters effective January 1, to improve business in that region.
No further information on the cost of the expansion has been given.