TOKYOToyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. is evaluating the need for and feasibility of expanding capacity at its White, Ga., tire plant, but nothing is definite at this time.
Toyo Tire President Akira Nobuki told a Bloomberg News reporter recently that Toyo is considering raising capacity in the U.S., especially for profitable products such as tires for sport-utility vehicles.
According to the Bloomberg report, Mr. Nobuki said Toyo is evaluating a roughly 30-percent increase in capacity at the White factory, to 8.5 million units annually.
James Hawk, chairman of Toyo Tire Holdings America Inc., president of Toyo Tire Manufacturing and a corporate officer of Toyo Tire & Rubber, confirmed the basics of the interview but said Mr. Nobuki was speaking of mid-term plans.
Toyo last expanded the 8-year-old White plant in 2010-11, but the company has at its disposal several hundred million dollars in potential funding in the form of a $910 million bond facility approved in September 2011 by the Bartow County (Ga.) Joint Development Authority.
The facility provides continuing tax incentives to Toyo, giving the company the option of continuing our periodic investments (at the plant) well into the future, the company said at that time.
The three-year expansion, completed in 2011, doubled the size of the tire manufacturing facility and boosted annual capacity to 5.2 million units.