OSAKA, Japan (June 4, 2004) — Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. has confirmed Bartow County, Ga., as the site for its first U.S. passenger tire plant.
Toyo settled on a 150-acre plot in Bartow County as the “most suitable” site after three and half months of evaluating that and other sites in the U.S. Southeast, the company said.
The company said it would invest $150 million to build a 1.03 million-sq.-ft. plant, with an annual capacity initially of 2 million tires. About 430,000 square feet of the plant will be warehousing, Toyo said, to service its markets in the Southeast.
Production is scheduled to begin by March 2006, Toyo said. The plant will employ 350 initially.
Toyo said it would use a proprietary tire manufacturing system at the new plant, involving automation technology that yields small production runs of a multiple lines of tires.
The plant will be operated by Toyo Tire North America Inc., a new subsidiary. Shozo Kibata, president of Toyo Tire (USA) Corp. and a corporate officer of the parent company, will be president of the new unit.
News media in Georgia reported that Bartow County officials have stated the $150 million plant is only the first of three stages planned. Eventually, they reported, Toyo will invest nearly $400 million and create up to 900 jobs.
The proposed site, northwest of Atlanta near the town of Cartersville, is only about 20 miles from Rome, Ga., where Pirelli Tire North America Inc. set up an automated factory two years ago.
Toyo chose the site despite opposition from a local residents´ group, which lobbied against the project because it maintained taxpayers would have to foot the bill for bringing utilities and roads to the rural site.