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YRC building 2nd Chinese car tire plant

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SUZHOU, China (Jan. 23, 2014) — Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. is building a passenger tire plant in Suzhou on land adjacent to its existing truck/bus tire plant there, with production scheduled to begin in April after just nine months of construction.

Yokohama broke ground on the plant last summer but didn't disclose the project until this week. It's budgeted $253 million for the plant, which has a nameplate capacity of 6 million tires a year, with production focused on its "BluEarth" eco tire brand and other high-performance, fuel-efficient passenger car tires.

The tires will be sold primarily domestically, both in the OE and replacement markets.

YRC did not disclose the plant's size or expected employment.

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

This will be Yokohama's second car tire plant in China, complementing one in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, that opened in 2001. That plant, operated by Hangzhou Yokohama Tire Co. Ltd., maintains an annual capacity of 5.1 million tires.

YRC said the expansion is tied to Phase III of its "GD100" medium-term management plan, which calls for an increase in global production capacity by 7 million tires.

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