Kumho breaks ground on tire manufacturing plant in the U.S.

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Groundbreaking on Kumho Tire Co. Inc.'s consumer tire manufacturing plant in Bibb County, Ga., began today near Macon, Ga. The plant is Kumho's sixth outside of Korea, and ninth overall.

Kumho expects the $165 million, 5.7 million-square-foot facility to be up and running by the end of 2009. It will feature state-of-the-art automated facilities, according to the company.

Initially, the plant will have a capacity of 2.1 million tires annually. They will be earmarked for both the original equipment and replacement markets in the United States.

Approximately 300 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony, including Sam-Gu Park, chairman & CEO of Kumho Asiana Group, and Sae-chul Oh, CEO and president of Kumho Tires. Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was one of a number of state government officials on hand.

"Establishing a production facility in the world's biggest tire market will help Kumho respond faster to the needs of customers in the region," said Oh. It will also reinforce "our cost and price competitiveness."

Oh said the plant will further strengthen Kumho's global network, "better positioning us to achieve our goal of becoming one of the world's top five tire companies by 2015."

By 2008, Kumho's production capacity outside of Korea will reach 33 million tires, exceeding its production in Korea by one million tires. By 2009, worldwide production capacity will total 77 million tires.

(For more information, see "Kumho will build plant in Georgia," Jan. 29, 2008.)

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