Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. is expanding its research and development space in White, Ga., to boost its North American business. The work is scheduled to be complete in 2017.

In 2016 Toyo expanded its production capacity at its North American plant in Georgia. In 2017 the company will add to its R&D center there.

In 2016 Toyo expanded its production capacity at its North American plant in Georgia. In 2017 the company will add to its R&D center there.

The R&D facility is located in the tire company's tire plant. Toyo says it will add staff at each stage of the process, from product planning to product design to commercialization, and will increase the R&D staff by one-and-a-half times the current number. The result will be a more effective and rapid regional product development capability, which Toyo says will help it "take a more direct and meticulous approachto meeting market needs."

The company also will add equipment to measure and evaluate the static and dynamic properties of the tire, and speed up the evaluation and feedback elements of product development.

Toyo says once the R&D expansion is complete, "we will be in a better position to expedite development of both original equipment and replacement tires that more closely meets customer needs, and thereby increase the value of its North American tire operations."

The expanded R&D center is the latest investment at Toyo's facility in Georgia. Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. completed its phase four expansion in 2016, increasing annual capacity to 11.5 million tires (calculation based on passenger tires.) The facility is now Toyo's largest tire manufacturing facility.

To further bolster its business focus on North America, Toyo has created a North America Business Development Division at its Osaka, Japan, headquarters effective Jan. 1, 2017. This unit will be directly involved with promoting the North American business, and will enable swift decision-making and appropriate management of the business, the company says.

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