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Yokohama Rubber completes Thailand expansion

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Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. has completed an expansion of the Tire Test Center of Asia, the company's comprehensive tire proving ground in Rayong Province, Thailand.

The expansion adds the following to the test center:

* four test courses;

* a 2.5-kilometer dry-test course and a 1.5-kilometer wet-test course for handling tests;

* a skid pad; and

* a corner hydroplaning test road.

The two handling test courses enable the testing of overall tire performance and compatibility with specific vehicles under dry and wet road conditions, while the skid pad is used for testing tire grip performance on wet roads. The corner hydroplaning road is used to test the overall water drainage performance of the tire and its trea  pattern.

Expansion of the Thai proving ground enables Yokohama to conduct complete tests of its tires' handling and vibration performance.

The Tire Test Center of Asia opened in April 2009. The 1.69-million-square-meter site was initially equipped with a 4.1-kilometer high-speed track with a 1-kilometer straightaway (enabling high-speed running tests of more than 200 km/h); a multipurpose track covering approximately 100,000 square meters; a 4.2-kilometer course that encircles the high-speed course and reproduces general road conditions in Asia; and a rough road course for testing tire durability.

The track also enables testing tire performance during high-speed lane changes while driving in a slalom pattern. It also is equipped with a wet-test course and a special course that enables evaluation of ride comfort and noise generation.

Prior to the establishment of the Tire Test Center of Asia, Yokohama's tire testing was centered at two proving grounds in Japan: the comprehensive tire proving ground D-PARC and the specialized winter tire proving ground T-MARY.

Sensing a need for a larger facility to service its growing global tire business, Yokohama decided to establish a new tire proving ground in Thailand, which the company says has become Asia's automotive capital and is often referred to as the Asian Detroit. Thailand also was chosen because of its rather stable climate, which enables tire evaluations under the same conditions throughout the year.

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