AKRON (Aug. 7, 2002) – Goodyear officials have approved modernization plans for the company's Topeka, Kan., medium truck and OTR tire plant that could require more than $100 million in investments over five years.
The project would involve primarily upgrading the plant's OTR tire capabilities to keep pace with industry demands for larger tires, according to John Loulan, vice president of operations for Goodyear North American Tire. Specifically, the expansion that would add technology and updated machinery for producing radial truck tires and Goodyear's new two-piece mining tire.
The company did not disclose whether overall capacity or employment at the 57-year-old plant would change, or whether it would add on to the plant's physical space.
Goodyear's approval of the plans comes two weeks after workers at the plant's union local voted in favor of changes to the labor agreement, including schedule changes and wage deferrals. The contractual changes would include a 65-cent wage increase deferment until 2004 for raises scheduled for this year and some occasional required overtime.
The project also coincides with several incentives local and state governments have granted Goodyear, including: tax incentives granted by Shawnee County on new equipment and machinery; and bonds approved by the Kansas state legislature that would be issued in $10 million increments for every $50 million Goodyear invests.
Goodyear employs 1,700 at the Topeka plant, which has daily capacity of 8,100 units.