TOKYO (Oct. 26, 2004) — Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. plans to more than double production capacity at its Yokohama Tire Philippines Inc. subsidiary to meet growing demand from Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia for passenger and sport-utility vehicle tires.
Yokohama will invest $93.7 million through September 2006 in the project, which will increase the plant's annual capacity to 7 million tires from 3 million. The plant, in the Philippines' Clark Economic Zone, makes car and SUV tires in rim diameters of 13 to 18 inches, exporting about 90 percent of production, Yokohama said.
The project will focus heavily on expanding capacity for larger rim diameter sizes, including sizes larger than 18 inches, the company said, and will incorporate flexible, small-scale production technology used at the firm's Hangzhou Yokohama Tire Co. Ltd. subsidiary in China.
Capacity at the plant was expanded to 3 million units only this year under a $16.7 million investment project that included adding larger diameter sizes. Yokohama did not comment on the expansion's effect on employment, which was listed at 680 at last report.
Yokohama Tire Philippines is an 80/20 joint venture involving Yokahama and JFE Shoji Trading Corp. The plant came on stream initially in 1996.