The road to global capacity
After opening its third tire manufacturing plant last year, Nexen Tire Corp. is ramping up global production in a big way. And leading the charge for capacity is David Sul, the new chief executive officer at Nexen Tire America Inc.
“Nexen’s increase of production capacity will focus mainly on the increase of global OE supply,” says Sul. “We supply to Mitsubishi, Chrysler, Kia, Hyundai and Fiat. Our OE supply for North America will include three more automotive manufacturers in 2013.”
Nexen has three plants. The newest opened in May 2012 in ChangNyeong, South Korea. The company says the plant is capable of producing more than 10 million tires per year. That number is expected to reach 21 million tires by 2018.
The three plants produced a total 33.5 million tires last year. Here is a breakdown of the numbers, followed by Nexen’s projections for 2017 (expansion plans can be adjusted according to market conditions):
• Yangsan Plant, South Korea — 19 million PCR/LTR/SUV tires (20 million by 2017).
• ChangNyeong Plant, South Korea — 4.5 million PCR/LTR/SUV tires (20 million by 2017).
• Qingdao Plant, China —10 million PCR/LTR/SUV tires (20 million by 2017).
Nexen says it wants to create “the value of tomorrow” for tire buyers. To do that, it is emphasizing research and development and increasing consumer tire capacity as quickly as possible.
Five research and development centers are already in place around the world. They are located in Yangsan and Kyungnam, South Korea; Qingdao, China; Frankfurt, Germany; and Akron, Ohio.
By 2020, capacity will reach 80 million tires, according to the company. To reach that number, Nexen may need “another production plant.”
“I believe we can use new products we are launching to help increase our customer’s profits.”
Those products include the N’Fera SU1, the N’Fera SU4, the N’blue eco, the Roadian HTX RH5 and the Roadian AT Pro RA8.
Sul will draw upon his company knowledge to devise a long-term business plan in the U.S. marketplace.
“At this time, my role is to evaluate the current market situation. Then I will formulate a plan that will probably change frequently do to the vitality in the U.S. and global markets.”
In 2012, Nexen had a 2.5% share of the U.S. passenger tire market, and 2% of the light truck tire market, according to the 2013 Modern Tire Dealer Facts Issue. ■
Hercules/Tire Dealer’s Warehouse to distribute two Nexen tires
Nexen Tire Americas Inc. recently introduced the N’blue eco AH01 and N’Fera SU4, previously only available in Europe, to the U.S. market.
The tires will be distributed through the 14 Tire Dealer’s Warehouse (TDW) locations and through the Hercules Tire & Rubber Co. network of independent wholesalers.
“We know that these two lines are the perfect complement to our existing product offering and will allow our customers to have an advantage in the marketplace,” says Josh Simpson, vice president of marketing at Hercules. “This will add to the eco-friendly tire options that TDW customers are requesting.”
The N’blue eco AH01 is an eco-friendly, high-performance all-season tire with a low rolling resistant, full silica compound engineered for long mileage. The tire’s construction and design also reduce rolling resistance.
The N’blue eco AH01 is available in 36 sizes ranging from P235/55R18 to P195/65R15.
The N’Fera SU4 is a UHP asymmetric summer tire. Designed for optimum driving with good drainage and grip, the N’Fera SU4 performs well on wet surfaces.
It has optimal structure and blocks that deliver stable performance and a strong steering response during high-speed cornering. It features a new compound that Nexen says delivers excellent energy efficiency without sacrificing mileage.
It is available in 47 sizes ranging from 255/35ZR19 to 175/65R14.