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Nokian Takes North American Headquarters Back to Tennessee

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The North American subsidiary of Nokian Tyres plc is moving its headquarters back to Tennessee, the future home of the Finnish company’s American tire plant.

Eight years after completing its move from La Vergne, Tenn., a community that’s part of the greater Nashville area, to Colchester, Vt., the company is heading back to Nashville, and plans to open a temporary office there by May 1. That’s the same day Mark Earl begins his job as vice president of the Americas Business Area for Nokian.

Hans Dyhrman, director of marketing for Nokian, says the transition from Vermont to Tennessee “will be a long, gradual one,” and will take upwards of a year. “Our warehousing and distribution facilities in Colchester will remain for the foreseeable future.”

The company, which broke ground on its Dayton, Tenn., plant in September 2017, is pursuing an aggressive growth plan in the U.S., with tire production beginning in 2020 and a goal of doubling tire sales in North America by 2022. The company has said building a plant in the U.S. will allow it to focus more attention on tires specific to the American market, such as all-season and light truck tires.

Nokian is investing $360 million in its third production site. It will also include a warehouse with the capacity to hold 600,000 tires.

Moving its headquarters closer to the tire plant makes sense logistically. But when asked why Nokian didn’t chose Dayton, or the nearby city of Chattanooga, as the site of its North American headquarters, Dyhrman said, “Dayton and Chattanooga are great places, and we have had a warm welcome there. However Nashville is much more of a hub that allows for a large employee base and easy connectivity, both driving distance to Dayton as well as international flights.”

Nashville is about 150 miles northwest of Dayton. The city is becoming a bigger hub for the tire industry, as Bridgestone Americas Inc. moved into a 30-story tower in downtown Nashville in 2017, and Hankook Tire America Corp.  moved its headquarters there from New Jersey in 2016. The Nasvhille area also is home to Marangoni Tread North America Inc., Triangle Tire USA and Hennessy Industries Inc.

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