Yokohama Tire Corp.'s Shinichi Takimoto (front row, fourth from left), joined YCNA's Tetsuya Kuze (third from left) and Shoichiro (Sho) Matsuda (sixth from the left), at the grand opening of the Yokohama Development Center America. The 25,000-square-foot R&D center is located in Mecklenburg County, N.C.

Yokohama Tire Corp.'s Shinichi Takimoto (front row, fourth from left), joined YCNA's Tetsuya Kuze (third from left) and Shoichiro (Sho) Matsuda (sixth from the left), at the grand opening of the Yokohama Development Center America. The 25,000-square-foot R&D center is located in Mecklenburg County, N.C.

It's official -- and there is a ribbon cut in half to prove it. Yokohama Tire Corp. officially opened its new tire research and development facility in Cornelius, N.C. The 25,000-square-foot Yokohama Development Center America (YDCA) replaces the temporary R&D office Yokohama has utilized in Concord, N.C., since 2016.

Local officials joined Yokohama executives for the ribbon-cutting festivities, including Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam.

"In 1969 -- almost 50 years ago -- Yokohama entered the U.S. market, and since then our name has been associated with quality, technology and innovation," said Shinichi Takimoto, CEO and president of Yokohama Tire Corp. of North America (YCNA), and chairman and CEO of Yokohama Tire Corp.

"The opening of YDCA is another example of our continued investment in North America," said Tetsuya Kuze, executive vice president of YCNA.  "We are committed to developing new products for this market across multiple segments."

The Cornelius facility will consolidate separate R&D staffs currently operating at a number of locations throughout the U.S. and will be led by Shoichiro (Sho) Matsuda, YCNA vice president of corporate technical.

"Our primary focus here will be tire development," said Matsuda. "We will also support other technical groups such as quality assurance and technical services."  Thomas Kenny, director of consumer tire development; Dan Steltmann, director of commercial tire development; and Jeremy Kahrs, director of technical service, will all be based out of the company’s new location.

Kuze said the U.S. development center is Yokohama’s largest overseas R&D center in both functions and number of employees.

"Consolidating our R&D activities will strengthen our R&D structure and further accelerate our ability to deliver new products that meet the demands of the market," said Kuze. "Cornelius is a great fit for our company. The proximity to the airport and the skilled workforce is going to make this facility very successful."

For more information on Yokohama’s broad product line, visit www.yokohamatire.com.

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