Yokohama Truck Tires: From Months to Days
The Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi LLC plant is mass producing truck tires roughly 24 months after breaking ground.
Yokohama executives, including Hikomitsu Noji, president and representative director of Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., and Takaharu Fushimi, CEO and president of Yokohama Tire Corp. and Yokohama Corp. of North America, were joined by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant at a press conference talking about the joint partnership.
Noji said Yokohama sees growth in the U.S. truck tire industry, and the greenfield plant, located in West Point, Miss., in Clay County, will fill the demand of Yokohama's customers in the United States by producing 22.5- and 24.5-inch tires.
“Our speed to market is going to improve greatly," said Rick Phillips, Yokohama Tire Corp.'s vice president of sales. "Our lead time will literally go from months when we source tires from offshore to just a few days when we source tires here in Mississippi.
'It’s going to give us a lot more flexibility to adapt to a changing market to make sure we have the right product mix will get the right tires in the right place at the right time.”
Gov. Bryant said in the last 15 years, Mississippi has added Nissan and Toyota plants in addition to the Yokohama facility. "We are looking at the continued success of the Mississippi automotive corridor."
He said 500 people will be working for the plant when Phase 1 is completed by 2018. Clay County had the second highest unemployment rate in Mississippi prior to the greenfield plant's construction.
The truck tire plant is nearly 1 million square feet. At the completion of Phase 1, the commecial facility will have the capacity produce 1 million tires annually, or 3,000 tires a day.
“Our MDA team, Mississippi Development Authority, did a remarkable job of insentivizing this company,” added Bryant.
Fushimi said the manufacturing plant was "strategically designed to serve as a manufacturing center of our commercial tires," to be exclusively used in North America.
Does that mean the GTY joint venture truck tire plant with Continental Tire the Americas LLC will be affected?
Yes, said Phillips, Yokohama's involvement in the joint venture "will be winding down."
He added that the new plant is the most efficient Yokohama truck tire plant.