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Cooper will have brand fully ready for China debut in 2007

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will be selling the Cooper brand in the China aftermarket within a year. The announcement was made at Cooper Tire's "Pit Stop China" press conference this week, held in conjunction with the A1 Grand Prix race in Shanghai.

Cooper is busy designing a complete line of Cooper brand tires designed especially for the Chinese market. The lines will be tested in a few markets during 2006 with a full launch in early 2007.

"We have great respect and high expectations for China and this country will be very important to our future plans," says Tom Dattilo, chairman, CEO and president.

Cooper Tire recently acquired majority ownership of Shandong Chengshan Tire Co., China's third largest domestic producer. With technology support from Cooper's technical centers around the world, this facility will produce premium Cooper-branded tires for the Chinese market.

Cooper also has a plant under construction as part of a joint venture with Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd. That plant is located in Jiangsu Province, China. Production is expected to begin in the third quarter 2006 with annual capacity of 10-12 million radial passenger and light truck tires for export to Cooper customers in North America and Europe.

Cooper currently has nine proprietary brands: Cooper, Mastercraft, Dean, Starfire, Avon, Dominator, Mickey Thompson, Dick Cepek, Chengshan and Austone.

Cooper Tire is the official tire for the A1 Grand Prix, which is also known as the World Cup of Motorsports.

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