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Hankook will build $800 million plant in Tennessee

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Hankook will build $800 million plant in Tennessee

In Clarksville, Tenn., $800 million will build you a consumer tire plant. Hankook Tire Co. Inc. will begin construction of its eighth tire production facility worldwide – and first in the United States -- in Clarksville in 2014. Production is expected to begin in 2016 following phase one.

When the facility is completed following phase two in 2018, annual capacity will be 11 million tires.

"This new facility will help Hankook Tire accomplish our plan to establish a production base in all major markets,” said Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO of Hankook Tire. “We will be able to provide our customers, consumers and car makers with high quality tires and industry leading service to meet the demands of the American market.”

The announcement was made from the Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Clarksville in front of a group of more than 200 assembled local and state officials and media representatives.

"I want to thank Hankook Tire for its substantial investment in Tennessee and for the 1,800 jobs they’ll create in Montgomery County.” said Bill Haslam, governor of Tennessee.

Hankook reportedly had been considering sites in South Carolina and Georgia as well.

The company says the Clarksville location, located 35 miles northwest of Nashville, is ideal because it offers an extensive transportation network including rail, plane and interstate highway networks as well as regional access to the Mississippi River inland waterway.

Hankook has been very aggressive in securing original equipment fitments in recent years. On Sept. 2, 2013, the company held a major press conference in Seoul, South Korea, announcing OE fitments for the new BMW 5-series and, for the first time, Mercedes-Benz models.

Clarksville is located 400 miles from the BMW plant in Spartanburg, S.C., and 294 miles from the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Hankook supplies tires to the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Ala., and Kia plant in West Point, Ga., 329 miles and 372 miles from Clarksville, respectively.

The Korean company also has two plants in Korea, three in China and one each in Hungary and Indonesia.

Hankook posted net sales of more than $6.4 billion in 2012, making it the seventh largest tire manufacturer in the world. That compares to $1.5 billion in sales 10 years ago, when it was the ninth largest.

The new state-of-the-art plant, which Hankook says will cost more than $800 million, will be the first passenger and light truck tire plant in Tennessee. Bridgestone Americas Inc., headquartered in Nashville, runs two truck tire plants in the state.

Clarksville is also the home of Bridgestone Metalpha U.S.A. Inc., a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corp. The facility produces steel cord for radial tires.

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