Noji: Yokohama will be here for a long time
Now that Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi (YTMM) LLC, the new manufacturing subsidiary of Yokohama Tire Corp., has officially broke ground on its new commercial truck tire manufacturing plant in West Point, Miss., company executives are focusing on supplying the U.S. commercial market while competing globally.
The company’s first ground-up U.S. plant is good news for the U.S. commercial tire industry and even better news for the West Point area of Mississippi, where 500 jobs will be created in the first phase of the project.
While company executives did not comment on the precise timeline of the plant’s growth, the facility could eventually expand from the initial 1 million square feet to 5 million square feet, which would be 115 acres under roof. At that point the plant would have 2,000 employees and produce 4 million tires annually.
“The Japanese domestic market is so-so and the U.S. market is growing,” says Hikomitsu Noji, president of Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.
“I think it is getting better compared to last year and the year before. Europe is not so good and China is getting worse along with the Russian market.”
Noji says that currently the company ships truck tires to the U.S. market through its partnership with Continental Tire the Americas LLC where the companies jointly own the GTY truck tire plant in Mount Vernon, Ill. Its production capacity is 3,900 truck tires per day, according to the 2013 Modern Tire Dealer Facts Issue.
“We also make truck tires at the Yokohama Rubber (Thailand) Co. Ltd. plant in Rayong Province, Thailand, but it’s not good enough. Demand is more.
“This is the first plant we are building ourselves and it shows a major commitment by Yokohama for the North American market. We will be here for a long time.”
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