More capacity, says Nexen
Nexen Tire Corp. says it wants to create “the value of tomorrow.” To do that, it is emphasizing research and development and increasing consumer tire capacity as quickly as possible.
Four R&D centers are already in place around the world. They are located in Yangsan, Kyungnam, South Korea; Qingdao, China; Frankfurt, Germany; and Akron, Ohio.
To increase tire production, Nexen recently opened a passenger and light truck tire plant in Changnyeong, Korea. The factory is Nexen’s second in Korea and third overall.
In 2012, the three plants will have the capacity to produce 33 million tires. That will increase to 40 million in 2015.
Here is the breakdown per plant:
Year Changnyeong, Korea Yangsan, Korea Qingdao, China
2012 6 million 19 million 8 million
2017 20 million 20 million 20 million
By 2020, capacity will reach 80 million tires, according to Byung-Woo Lee, vice president of sales. However, Nexen will need “another production plant” to reach that number.
The new 5.3 million-square-foot Changnyeong facility includes a 218,830-square-foot, highly automated tire plant. It is run 24/7, 351 days a year in three shifts; only 150 workers are needed per shift.
The eco-friendly plant features solar power generation, which, along with natural lighting panels and LED lighting, illuminates the plant while reducing energy usage.
Growth has not been a problem for Nexen, the oldest tire company in Korea. The 70-year-old company has averaged 21.4% growth annually over the last 10 years.
Nexen has 14 overseas branches, including five in Europe. Its newest subsidiary opened in Toronto, Canada, earlier this year.
Nexen’s goal is to be a top 10 global tire company by 2020. “In order to reach the top 10, we’ll have to be a major player in the China market,” adds Lee.
The company’s two largest markets are Europe and North America, respectively; Korea is its third largest, followed by Asia.
In the United States, the Nexen brand owns 2% of the replacement passenger tire market, according to the 2012 Modern Tire Dealer Facts Issue. Ultra-high and high performance tires account for two-thirds of Nexen’s unit sales.
Nexen officials say the brand’s home market share was 23% in 2011, up from 18% in 2004 and 8% in 1999. In 2012, they estimate their market share will grow to 28%.
Plans for 2012 include developing five passenger tire patterns and eight light truck and SUV patterns at its R&D Centers. Nexen also wants to be able to produce run-flat tires. ■