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Michelin to begin X One tread rubber production in U.S.

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Michelin North America Inc. (MNA) will no longer have to import tread rubber for its X One wide-base truck tire from Europe after it starts manufacturing the product next year in Georgia.

MNA is expanding a plant in Covington, Ga., that will build tread rubber to be used in X One retreading. It is scheduled to open in the late first quarter or early second quarter of 2005, Norm Ball, director of franchise business services for Michelin Retread Technologies Inc. (MRTI), told moderntiredealer.com earlier today. "We´re doing preliminary testing already," he says.

Seven out of MTRI´s 42 shops can currently retread X Ones, including six facilities with premold capabilities. MNA plans to retrofit old plants to retread X Ones and build new ones "every month until we get all of them done. We may speed (the process) up if we think the market is growing faster."

MNA says its X One sales have been doubling year to year. MNA introduced the tire to the North American market in 2000.

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