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Yokohama Rubber lays out plant expansion plans

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The Yokohama Rubber Co. has announced it will invest some 10 billion yen ($93.6 million based on today´s exchange rate) in Yokohama Tire Philippines Inc. (YTPI). The company says the move is designed to increase the subsidiary´s annual production capacity to seven million tires by September 2006.

The expansion will include new production lines.

YTPI was established in 1996 as a joint-venture company between Yokohama Rubber, which invested 80% of the capital, and JFE Shoji Trading Corp., then known as Kawasho Corp. The plant manufactures 13- to 18-inch passenger car tires for sport-utility vehicles.

It exports close to 90% of the tires to Europe, the Middle East and ASEAN countries other than the Philippines (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand).

YTPI´s production capacity was expanded to three million tires a year in September 2004. However, Yokohama Rubber recently decided to more than double the already expanded capacity by fully utilizing the subsidiary´s plant lot area.

The new expansion plans are part of Yokohama Rubber´s ongoing program to strengthen production capabilities in Asia and Japan and "to materialize a high-quality, low-cost production system that should be common among production bases in the region," according to the company.

Hangzhou Yokohama Tire Co. Ltd., based in China, will double its passenger tire manufacturing capacity to 1.5 million tires by the end of this year. In addition, the annual production capacity of the Shinshiro Minami Plant in Japan will reach 700,000 tires in April 2005 (the plant, which started operation in December 2003, specializes in "high value-added, high-inch tires based on a cluster of cutting edge technologies").

Yokohama Tire Manufacturing (Thailand) Co. Ltd. will have annual production of 350,000 truck and bus tires beginning in April 2005. The subsidiary has a plant lot area of 225,000 square meters and "plans to further increase production volume in the coming years."

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