CHINA: Yokohama Rubber to build new passenger car tire plant at Suzhou

Construction of the new facility began in summer 2013, but Yokohama didn't disclose the project until now. It is expected to begin production in April 2014, with annual capacity to be gradually expanded until it reaches 6 million tires by the end of 2017.

The total investment is expected to reach about 26.5 billion yen.

The facility will primarily manufacture Yokohama's eco tire brand "BluEarth" and other high-performance, fuel-efficient passenger car tires, for which demand has been increasing in recent years. The products will be sold in China. The plant's high-performance tires will be targeted at original equipment sales to automobile makers in China as well as the aftermarket for replacement tires.

Suzhou Yokohama Tire Co., Ltd., was established in 2006 as a manufacturing and sales company specializing in truck/bus tires. It currently has an annual production capacity of 340,000 tires.

Another Yokohama subsidiary, Hangzhou Yokohama Tire Co., Ltd., is specializing in the production of passenger car tires at its plant in Zhejiang Province. The Hangzhou subsidiary was established in 2001 and raised its annual capacity to 5.1 million tires through four capacity expansions, which concluded in 2011.

Yokohama Rubber's expansion of its tire production capacity in China is one of the measures set forth in Phase III (2012-2014) of its "GD100" medium-term management plan. During Phase III, Yokohama Rubber plans to boost its total global annual production capacity by 7 million tires.

Source: Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. website, Tokyo, Japan; 23 Jan 2014
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)