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Goodyear begins modernization of Lawton, Okla., plant

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is modernizing its Lawton, Okla., manufacturing plant. In the process, the company is adding light truck tire manufacturing capability and warehouse capacity to the passenger tire plant.

Gary Hearn, communications manager for the Lawton plant, says the addition of 175,000 square feet of plant space and 346,000 square feet of warehouse space will increase the plant's size to 2.4 million square feet. He adds tire manufacturing capacity is not expected to increase or decrease.

According to Modern Tire Dealer's 2002 Facts Issue, the non-union plant has the cabability to produce 60,000 passenger tires a day.

As part of the modernization, Goodyear will increase its capability to produce more value-added tires, 17 inches and higher, says Clint Smith, manager of communications for Goodyear's North American Tire business unit.

Also, some of Goodyear's Integrated Manufacturing Precision Automated Cell Technology (IMPACT) will be used in Lawton.

Construction began in May on the first phase of the planned $250 million plant modernization. The cost of the project will be spread three ways:

* Goodyear will ante up $210 million of the total cost.

* The Oklahoma State Legislature will fund $36 million of the project through a bond issue.

* Voters in Comanche County, home of the Lawton plant, passed a one-quarter cent sales tax increase, with the resulting revenue to be used for industrial development in the county. Some $4 million already is earmarked for the plant.

Phase one will be completed in the next 18 to 24 months. Phase two will stretch the project to four or five years. "The concept is to be able to make more direct shipments to customers," says Hearn.

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