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Yokohama, Continental form joint venture

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Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. and Continental AG have signed a formal agreement to create a 50/50 joint venture company to supply original equipment auto manufacturers and boost Continental's replacement tire sales in Japan.

The new company, Yokohama Continental Tire Co. Ltd., also will market OE passenger, light truck and bus tires to Korean car makers.

It will be in place by the end of next month with a main office in Tokyo plus branch offices in Nagoya, Osaka and Hiroshima, Japan, and satellite offices in the United States and Germany.

In April, Yokohama will become the exclusive importer/distributor of Continental tires in Japan.

The joint venture was originally announced last June.

In November 2001, Modern Tire Dealer reported that Yokohama also had teamed with two Chinese companies to form a joint venture that will start building and marketing radial passenger tires for the Chinese market in April 2003.

Yokohama has plans to add several radial car tire plants in China in order to meet escalating demand there.

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