FINDLAY, Ohio (June 24, 2014) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.’s plans for a Global Technical Center (GTC) are back on track after being sidetracked for a year by the firm’s dealings with Apollo Tyres Ltd. over their proposed merger.
The $35.5 million GTC will be located at Cooper’s headquarters in Findlay along with its existing North America Technical Center (NATC). It ultimately will employ 40 scientists and engineers and is expected to be operational by year-end.
The tire manufacturer announced the global tech center in February 2013, receiving approval from the Ohio Third Frontier Commission with a $2.8 million grant of an industrial research and development program.
However, after plans to merge with Apollo were disclosed in May, the project was put on hold.
“We put the global tech center on pause while we took stock of what the combined company technical assets were going to look like and how best to structure and execute our technology innovation capabilities under a new combined entity,” said
Cooper Chairman, CEO and President Roy Armes June 23 during an event in Findlay marking the “official announcement” of the GTC .
“As most of you know, the merger didn’t take place. Cooper terminated the merger agreement at the end of 2013,” Mr. Armes continued. “And with the merger behind us, we promptly went back to our original plans for the global tech center.”
The GTC will have a dedicated research and development team, Cooper said, focused on exploring areas such as nanotechnology and new polymers and compounds. The center will be under the direct leadership of Cooper’s Global Technical Center Director Curt Selhorst and will support Cooper’s NATC as well as the regional technical centers of its subsidiaries — the recently opened Asia Technical Center (ATC) in Kunshan, China, and the Europe Technical Center (ETC) in Melksham, England.
“Technology and innovation are critical in the tire industry,” Mr. Armes said. “Technology drives the development of new products that deliver improved performance, environmental advantages and safety benefits for today’s drivers.
“At Cooper, we’ve seen how new products that resonate with our dealers and consumers can give our companies a competitive advantage, and with the GTC, we are building on our already strong capabilities to pursue the newest technologies to drive our business — and perhaps the tire industry as a whole — into the future.”
Chuck Yurkovich, vice president, global research and development at Cooper, said the focus is on “developing ‘ready to use’ advanced technologies” that will help “expedite the product development cycle and allow Cooper to create innovations in Findlay and deploy them to meet regional customer and market needs around the world.”
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