The year saw a number of U.S. companies funneling money into plant expansions to boost production levels. Among notable expansion plans of 1994 was Dunlop Tire Corp.'s decision to build what would be the first completely new passenger tire plant in North America since Goodyear opened its Napanee, Ontario, facility in 1990.
The new facility would be Dunlop's third North American tire factory. The company also has plants in Buffalo, N.Y., and Huntsville, Ala.
The new plant would produce primarily radial passenger tires in anticipation of increased demand for these products.
Few details of the project, including its location, were announced, but Dunlop said it planned to have pre-construction finished within one year, with production beginning by late 1998.
Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. announced it would spend between $5 million and $6 million to add production to its Bloomington, Ill., off-the-road tire plant it acquired from Edwards Warren Tire Co. in early 1994.
A portion of that investment was earmarked to increase capacity by 25 to 30 percent for the 6-ton OTR tires used on giant front-end loaders.
Overall production at the plant increased 23 percent in 1994 and is expected to increase an additional 16 percent by the end of 1995, a BFS spokeswoman said.
BFS formed Bridgestone/Firestone Off Road Tire Co. (BFOR) to handle OTR tire production at the Bloomington plant. Robert J. McNally, former controller of Bridgestone/Firestone Tire Sales, became BFOR president.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. boosted production capacity at its Albany, Ga., radial truck and passenger tire plant to 25,000 units per day from 10,000.
The company said it had added 150 employees for a total of 550 at the Albany location to accommodate the upgrade. Further expansion of the plant could follow in 1995, the company added.
Goodyear, late in 1994, announced it would spend $16.4 million to boost capacity 10 percent at its Valleyfield, Quebec, radial passenger tire plant.