LAS VEGASChina's Triangle Group Co. Ltd. is building a fifth plant in China's Weihai, Shandong Province, area that will be dedicated to higher value-added tires.
The capacity expansion is part of Triangle's global growth strategy, company executives told distributors and customers during a press conference in Las Vegas at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show.
The plant is designed for a capacity of 8 million units a year, according to Hu Yongkang, head of R&D/Quality Management Center, with an emphasis on performance, winter, SUV and other high value-added tires. The plant will come on stream in 2015 with curing capacity of 4 million tires annually, Mr. Hu said, with a second phase project set to double that to 8 million units later.
Triangle did not disclose its investment at this time. The tire maker's other four factories are all in the Weihai area, with combined manufacturing capacities of more than 30 million units, including 24 million radial, according to company data. Annual rubber mixing capacity is more than 500,000 metric tons. The product portfolio ranges from passenger to large OTR.
The project ties into Triangle's global growth aspirations, according to Chairman Ding Yuhua, and as such is being designed to meet or exceed prevailing global ecological and energy-saving standards. During the press conference he concentrated on Triangle's commitments to green efforts in its growtha strategic growth policy the executive has championed for several years.
Mr. Ding and Jenner Powell, marketing vice president, stressed the new plantwith additional investments in a Shanghai commercial/marketing center and expanded research and development assetssupport Triangle's efforts to establish the Triangle brand as a global premium brand.
The new marketing team in Shanghai will be tasked with shaping the Triangle brand message to be more consistent on a global basis, the two executives said.
One of the key efforts will be in North America, where the Triangle brand is distributed by a handful of key wholesale distributors, but primarily by Horizon Tire Co. of Houston in the U.S. and Dynamic Tire Corp. of Brampton, Ontario, in Canada.
Goodyear also sells Triangle trailer tires in North America, whereas Oriente Triangle Latin America Inc. of Miami covers Latin America and the Caribbean.
Mr. Ding stressed the firm will honor all existing distribution agreements in North America but will work with distributors to craft a brand message consistent with the global strategic goals. Triangle Group is the No. 3 tire maker in China and 16th worldwide, with sales in 2012 of $2.47 billion, with roughly 8 percent of that attributable to North America.
Three years ago Triangle announced the establishment of a technical liaison office, A3T L.L.C., in Akron, but officials with the University of Akron said recently the project is no longer active.