ATHENS, Ga. (May 20, 2005) – Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s conversion of a retread materials plant in Athens to motorsports tire production will include capacity for high-performance motorcycle tires, the firm said recently.
Cooper is testing equipment now in preparation of making the first test tires in June, a spokeswoman said. Commercial scale production, beginning with Mickey Thompson DOT ET street passenger tire radials, should begin in the third quarter.
Cooper disclosed last July plans to convert the plant, acquired in 1999 as part of its purchase of Standard Products Co., at a cost of $11 million over two years.
At that time the firm said initial output would focus on the Mickey Thompson line and the DOT street-legal Avon Tech R radial, but also that the plant would be “configured to manufacture other racing products as needed to support the company's overall motorsports strategy.”
That strategy now includes the Avon motorcycle line, now produced solely at the firm's Melksham, England, plant, according to Cooper's 2004 annual report. Production could start later this year or early in 2006.
Cooper now has about 120 employees at work in Athens, and that should grow to 160 at full capacity, the spokeswoman said.