MACON, Ga. (May 12, 2008) — Kumho Tire Co. Ltd. broke ground today at a site in Bibb County, Ga., for a $165 million, 5.7-million-sq.-ft. tire plant due on stream by year-end 2009.
The ground breaking went ahead despite heavy storm damage in Macon and Bibb County from a series of tornados that struck the area May 11, according to a spokesman for the Macon Economic Development Commission.
The plant will have an initial annual capacity of 2.1 million passenger tires with more than 200 employees, Kumho said. A second-phase expansion—slated for completion by 2011—would boost capacity to 3.15 million tires and create 200 more jobs at an additional cost of $60 million, the company said previously.
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and Kumho Tire President and CEO Sae-Chu Oh led the ground breaking ceremony, which was attended by more than 300 individuals, including local and state government officials, Kumho Tire executives and journalists. The site is located on 127 acres in Sofkee Industrial Park just south of the Macon city limits in southern Bibb County.
“Establishing a production facility in the world's biggest tire market will help Kumho respond faster to the needs of customers in the region, while also reinforcing our cost and price competitiveness,” Mr. Oh said. “We can now provide our…tires to U.S. consumers and an ever-growing number of major car makers faster than ever.”
This plant will expand to nine the number of Kumho plants worldwide—three plants in South Korea, four in China and one in Vietnam, which began operations in March. Kumho is building a fourth plant in China, for truck bus radial tires in Nanjing.
By year-end, Kumho's production capacity outside of Korea will reach 33 million tires, exceeding domestic production by 32 million tires. By year-end 2009 Kumho's international capacity, boosted by the plants in Nanjing and Georgia, will rise to 77 million tires.
Others who attended the ceremony included: Sam-Gu Park, chairman & CEO of Kumho Asiana Group; Ken Stewart, Georgia Department of Economic Development commissioner; and Macon-Bibb County Chairman Charles Bishop.