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Hankook breaks ground on new plant in Tennessee

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Hankook breaks ground on new plant in Tennessee

Tire dealers will be able to sell American-made Hankook passenger and light truck tires beginning in 2016. That is when the first phase of Hankook Tire America Corp.’s tire plant in Clarksville, Tenn., will be completed.

According to Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO of Hankook’s parent company in South Korea, Hankook Tire Co. Ltd., the plant will be able to produce 5.5 million replacement and original equipment tires in 2016. When the second phase of construction is completed in 2018, the plant will have the capacity to produce 11 million tires annually.

“If we can sell more tires, we will expand!” he told the crowd at the Tennessee plant’s official ground breaking in October.

Suh described Clarksville as the “center of the market for logistics and supply chain management.”

“Today marks an important milestone in our 73-year history as a tire maker. The new Tennessee plant will be a pivotal instrument to accommodate our growing business in the United States and also to propel a well-balanced global production portfolio.

“Combined with our advanced technological capability, the newest plant will create premium value and solidify our presence as a top-tier player in the global tire industry.”

Hankook will invest $800 million in the plant, Hankook’s eighth production facility worldwide and first in the U.S. When construction is completed, Hankook will have the global capacity to produce more than 100 million tires annually.

“The main purpose of this plant is to improve serviceability to customers in the U.S.,” said Suh. It also will help “enhance brand image.”

He added the company “will invest continually in R&D in this country.” One of Hankook’s five technical centers is located in Akron, Ohio.

Hankook estimates the plant will create close to 1,800 jobs in the region.   ■

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