Nexen Tire America Inc. is greatly expanding its tire technology center dedicated to the North and South American markets, a move the company says will boost both its original equipment and replacement market share. The leaders of the company’s current tech center, located in a leased space in a Richfield, Ohio, office park, turned shovels full of dirt at the nearby construction site on Oct. 17, 2017. Nexen Project Engineer Gary Zolton said the expectation is the 34,000 square-foot facility will be complete by December 2018, “but we’re hoping for November (2018).”
Within five years of its completion, the company plans to more than double the number of people working in the facility, from the current 17 employees to 40.
Plans for the Nexen America Technical Center have been in the works in 2012, and Aaron Neumann, a project manager, acknowledged the company is about a year behind its original construction timeline. But the tech center’s focus remains unchanged, he said. It will:
- lead the design, development and testing of OE and replacement tires for the North American market;
- support the research and development efforts underway in Korea; and
- work to enhance Nexen’s technical capacity with innovative ideas and tools.
The existing tech center is responsible for the creation of OE tires for the Chrysler Pacifica, and the North American team gets the credit for a new replacement tire that will be unveiled in a couple weeks at the 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.
Neumann highlighted Nexen’s OE relationship with FCA US LLC, and said the tire maker has been a strategic partner with the Ram brand since 2012. Nexen has OE fitments on nearly all Ram vehicles, and Neumann said the company will announce “another major fitment” in 2018.
According to Modern Tire Dealer statistics, Nexen holds 2% of FCA’s OE brand share in the U.S. and Canada.