TIANJIN, China-South Korea's Kumho & Co. Inc. has entered into its second tire-making joint venture in China, agreeing to invest $120 million over the next four years to modernize a bias-ply commercial vehicle tire plant in Tianjin and add radial production at the facility. Kumho will own 70 percent of Tianjin Kumho Tire Co. Ltd., which operates a 21,600-sq.-ft. plant with capacity for 700,000 truck, light truck and farm tires. Kumho's partners are Tianjin Tire Manufacturing Plant and Tianjin Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd.
Initial radial production should begin in 1997 and the entire modernization project completed by 1999, Kumho said. Bias-ply output will continue alongside the new radial capacity.
Michelin expanding tire plant
PARIS-Groupe Michelin is expanding production capacity for passenger tires at its 25-year-old Cholet plant in western France, but declined to divulge the project's size or cost.
The expansion will add 40 new jobs to the current work force of 1,600. Besides passenger car tires, Cholet produces light truck and 4x4 specialty tires.
Avon adds LP truck tire unit
MELKSHAM, England-Avon Tyres Ltd. has completed a $3.13 million expansion project at its Melksham tire factory that involved adding highly automated equipment to triple its production of low-profile truck tires.
Avon has installed a fully computerized, single-stage tire-building machine that can produce tires to fit rim diameters from 19.5 to 22.5 inches.
Smithers studies Indian market
AKRON-Smithers Scientific Services Inc. researchers are meeting with all major tire makers and retreaders in India to produce a comprehensive analysis of the tire industry in that country, due to be published in May. The Indian tire industry's annual sales volume exceeds $1.5 billion and its growth rate tops 6 percent per year, Smithers said.