FINDLAY, Ohio (July 10, 2001) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has signed an agreement authorizing Taiwan-based Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. to produce passenger radials for Cooper´s international division.
Findlay-based Cooper said the tires produced will be marketed under a variety of brand names including Cooper and Avon. They will be distributed through the Cooper-Avon location in Melksham, England, primarily to customers in Europe.
Cooper and Kenda have had an off-take arrangement for some time in which Kenda produced bias light truck tires for sale by Cooper in the U.S. as well as international markets. Cooper discontinued bias tire production in 1999, dedicating the freed capacity to radial light truck tires.
Kenda will manufacture the tires for Cooper-Avon at a newly constructed tire plant near Shanghai, China, with technical guidance from Cooper.
Cooper said it will relocate engineering staff to the Kenda plant to facilitate production and assist with technical details. Kenda is also the exclusive distributor for Cooper Tire in Taiwan.
Richard Stephens, Cooper´s international division president, said the arrangment "allows us to shift our internal production capacity to the higher-speed-rated performance radials without (making) a major capital outlay. As we continue to grow our relationship with Kenda, there may be other opportunities to expand Cooper´s business in Asia,´´ he said.