QUINCY, Ill.-While most tire makers are concerned with overcapacity, Titan Wheel International Inc.'s Titan Tire Corp. unit plans to build a farm and off-road tire plant. Titan entered the tire market in 1993 by purchasing Dico Tire
Inc. in Clinton, Tenn., and, a year later, Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp.'s farm tire plant in Des Moines, Iowa.
It has reached capacity at these two off-highway tire plants, and had even been adding capacity, but ``we decided it made more sense to start a new plant,'' a company spokesman said.
This will be Titan's first construction of a manufacturing plant. Up to this point, the Quincy-based company has evolved into a formidable player in the off-highway tire and wheel market through numerous acquisitions.
``Titan's new tire plant will represent the most modern and technologically advanced facility of its kind in the world,'' said Titan President and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr. ``This will give Titan a distinct advantage, as there hasn't been another new farm tire plant built in the U.S. since the 1960s.
``Titan reached our goal to become the world leader in off-highway wheels, and I'm comfortable enough with our plans to believe that we will again meet that challenge in the tire market,'' he said.
The new plant will enable Titan to move more into the aftermarket, Mr. Taylor said.
Titan is considering sites in Lake Charles, La., and Brownsville, Texas. A decision is expected by late September, ground-breaking is planned for mid-October and production should begin about 18 months later, the spokesman said.
The $100 million plant will be about the size of Titan's Des Moines factory and will produce agricultural, construction and specialty tires, with a ratio of 60 percent radial and 40 percent bias-ply. Capacity at Des Moines is about 13,000 units per day.
The facility also will sport a test track and upgraded testing facility.