MACON, Ga. (Nov. 15, 2011) — A sprawling tire plant that's been on Kumho Tire USA Inc.'s drawing board for several years is still on hold, according to the mayor of Macon.
Mayor Robert Reichert told The Telegraph newspaper, in an Associated Press report, that Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal met recently with representatives of the South Korean tire maker while on an oversees trip and learned that construction on the plant in south Bibb County will not begin for at least two more years due to economic conditions.
A spokeswoman for Kumho Tire USA confirmed the accuracy of the report for Tire Business.
About four years ago the Cucamonga, Calif.-based subsidiary of South Korea´s Kumho Tire Co. Ltd., announced it would create 450 jobs by building a 1.3 million-sq.-ft. factory in the county.
Kumho actually broke ground on the plant in May 2008, at which time officials said production would start by year-end 2009.
However, at Kumho Tire USA's dealer meeting in February 2009 a company executive said the continuing struggling global economy had caused the firm to delay construction of the plant at that time. Approximately half of the production from the facility — estimated at 2.1 million units annually, initially — was destined primarily for OE, with eventual plans to expand it to supply the replacement market.
The Georgia factory would be Kumho's first manufacturing plant outside Asia.
Then this past January, again at its dealer meeting, Rick Brennan, Kumho's vice president of marketing, told dealers the proposed $225 million plant was again on hold because of the economy.