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Yokohama gets OK from Mississippi for new plant

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Yokohama gets OK from Mississippi for new plant

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has signed legislation that allows Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. to build a commercial tire plant in West Point, Miss.

“The passing of this legislation will result initially in 500 new jobs, with the potential to create up to 2,000 total jobs, and it will have a positive impact on the state’s economy for years to come,” said Bryant durnig the signing ceremony at the West Point Ritz near the site of the future company plant, about 149 miles from Jackson, Miss., the state capitol.

“Since our entry into the U.S. market over 40 years ago, along with the subsequent acquisition of our plant in Salem, Va., in the 1980s, Yokohama has been on a continual growth (in the U.S.)," said Hikomitsu Noji, president and representative director of Yokohama Rubber, parent company of Yokohama Tire Corp.

"Now we will build a factory in the United States for the first time. It re-affirms our commitment to the North American market and to the continued mutual success of Yokohama and its business partner – our dealers."

“West Point and Mississippi offer the optimal mix of cost and operating conditions advantages that Yokohama is seeking to achieve,” added Darin Buelow, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

The plant will be built on over 500 acres of land with construction expected to begin in September and completion two years later. Yokohama expects to hire approximately 500 employees to work at the facility.

West Point will be the site of Yokohama’s second U.S. tire plant. The new plant will manufacture truck and bus tires. The initial capital investment will be $300 million.

As reported earlier, construction of the facility will begin by September of this year, with tire production beginning in October 2015. The plant's annual production capacity upon completion of the first phase of construction will be 1 million tires.

Yokohama Tire Corp. provides truck and bus tires to the United States and Canada through:

1. GTY Tire Co., a U.S. joint venture company (with Continental Tire the Americas LLC) that manufactures truck and bus tires; and

2. export from Japan and Thailand.

Yokohama Rubber, however, says it "considered it necessary to build the new plant so as to accommodate the increasingly growing demand" for its brand and to "further strengthen a system aimed at local production for local consumption." The new plant will be built on a 500-acre parcel of land. It represents "Phase I" of Yokohama's overall plan for the site.

"Potential expansions could increase the original business size up to four times or so in scale in accordance with future business growth," the company says.

The production capacity of the GTY plant, which is located in Mount Vernon, Ill., is 3,900 truck tires per day, according to the 2013 Modern Tire Dealer Facts Issue. The majority of that production is branded by Continental.

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