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Michelin, other tiremakers to boost OTR production capacity

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Due to "unprecedented growth of the surface mining industry worldwide," Michelin North America Inc. (MNA) has announced company plans to increase production capacity of its earthmover tires.

This new capacity increase will complete the measures already taken in 2003 and 2004 to boost capacity, say MNA officials.

Other tiremakers have announced plans to ramp up OTR production or have already taken steps to do so:

* Bridgestone/Firestone Off-Road Tires added new building and curing machines to several of its OTR plants last year.

Parent company Bridgestone Corp. also has announced a capacity expansion at its OTR plant in Hofu, Japan.

"Added production resulting from this $120 million investment will be available beginning in the second half of 2006," says Manny Cicero, president, Bridgestone/Firestone Off-Road.

* Continental Tire North America Inc.'s (CTNA) Bryan, Ohio, plant "was producing both OTR radial and bias tires at maximum capacity for most of 2004 and continues to pursue higher levels," says Bob Harnar, CTNA director of sales and marketing, Global OTR Business Unit.

* Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is investing "limited capital" to boost production capacity of 25-inch radial OTR tires globally, according to Rob Andrew, Goodyear global marketing manager, OTR tires.

* Yokohama Tire Corp. is planning to increase production by 8%, says Gary Nash, Yokohama director of OTR.

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