WEST POINT, MS – Yokohama Tire celebrated a big milestone this week in opening their first US tire plant. This is the company’s first North American facility.
The US$300 million plant was built in a little over 24 months and is over one million square footage. More than 300 dignitaries came to celebrate the opening of the new facility. In addition, company officials led by Hikomitsu Noji, company president and director of Japan firm, were all present at the event.
“It is no longer sufficient to source tires from existing plants around the world,” Noji said. “Supply will have to come from where our customers are.” He projects growths within the industry and feels that in order to meet the demand, it is no longer ideal to outsource the tires.
The company has already hired more than 260 employees and plans to soon reach over 500. The facility houses warehousing, operations, and manufacturing. When the plant is operating at full capacity, it can produce up to 1 million tires per year.
“We’re in a very healthy market environment for trucking, especially in terms of Class 8 truck growth,” said Rick Phillips, vice president of sales for YTC. “We’re seeing the demand for long-lasting, fuel-efficient tires increasing.”
Yokohama sourced the majority of its commercial truck tires from its plant in Thailand. Being able to produce tires more locally will make the entire operation more efficient. “What this modern plant means to our customers is they will get what they want when they want it.” said Takaharu Fushimi, CEO of Yokohama Corp. of North America (YCNA) and Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC). He adds that Yokohama Tire is “committed to the commercial market.”
Production of Yokohama tires at the Thailand plant will “draw down as production at our new plant here ramps up,” Fred Koplin, YTC’s senior director of marketing and motorsports. The company is excited about this new endeavor and looks forward to ramping up production efficiency.