WASHINGTONFive new tire plants being built in the U.S., representing nearly $2.2 billion in investments, are all scheduled to begin production this year or next.
The plants, all being built by non-U.S. corporations, represent up to 3,800 non-union jobs in the four southern states where they're being builtGeorgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Of these, Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi L.L.C.'s commercial tire plant in West Point, Miss., is the most imminent. The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Yokohama West Point facility is scheduled for Oct. 5a little over two years after the September 2013 groundbreaking.
As of Aug. 18, Yokohama had hired some 260 workers for the West Point plant, according to a company spokesman. By year-end, the tire maker expects to have nearly 300 workers employed at the approximately 1 million-sq.-ft. plant, toward an expected total of 500.
Yokohama invested $300 million on Phase One of the plant, which was built on a 500-acre site near West Point. The operation will have an initial production capacity of 1 million tires annually, as well as warehousing and operations facilities, the firm said.
Wayne Ranick, director of communications for the United Steelworkers International, told Tire Business that the union has plans to attempt to organize the facilities, but we are not discussing the specifics.
The other four facilities scheduled to begin production shortly are:
c The Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. passenger and light truck tire manufacturing facility near Clarksburg, Tenn., which the company said in October 2014 was scheduled to begin production by January 2016.
When completed, the $800 million, 1.5 million-sq.-ft. plant on 470 acres is expected to employ 1,200 and have an annual production capacity of 5.5 million tires. Hankook plans a second phase of production to go online by 2018, which will double annual capacity to 11 million tires and increase total employment to 1,800.
Hankook officials did not return Tire Business queries for updates.
Aerial photos of the site posted on the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board's website show the factory's footprint has been cleared and some access roads built.
c The Giti Tire Group passenger and light truck tire plant at Richburg, S.C., that is scheduled to begin production in 2017.
Giti broke ground on the $560 million Richburg facility in February 2015. When completed, Giti's first North American plant will create 1,700 jobs over the next 10 years, according to the company.
A Giti spokesman declined to comment on further progress at the Richburg site, except to say that the project was progressing.
South Carolina media reported recently that workers have cleared the site for the 1.8 million-sq.-ft. plant and that Giti is awaiting air permits before it begins construction of main raw materials-receiving building.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce and Chester County Economic Development recently hosted a construction subcontractor outreach event, which was designed to provide potential construction contractors with information about the project and its schedule, details regarding current and upcoming bid packages and contractor pre-qualification forms.
Precision Blasting L.L.C., a drill-ing and blasting company based in Douglassville, Ga., has posted several photos on its website of work being done at the site.
c The Trelleborg A.B. agricultural tire plant in Spartanburg, S.C., expected to begin production in this year's second half.
Trelleborg said in May 2014 that it expected to spend $50 million through 2018 to convert its coated fabrics facility in Spartanburg into a 430,000-sq.-ft. plant that would employ 150.
A Trelleborg official said the Spartanburg project was on schedule and production will begin in the fourth quarter of this year.
While the firm would not disclose the plant's capacity, the spokesman said it will produce Trelleborg premium radial ag tires, with the majority of the space devoted to production. He confirmed Trelle-borg's $50 million investment in the facility and that the factory expects to have 150 new jobs by 2018.
c Kumho Tire Co. Inc.'s long-delayed, $413 million car tire plant in Macon, Ga.
Kumho resumed construction of the facility in August 2014, after halting the project six years earlier because of the international economic down-turn. On 150 acres in the Sofkee Industrial Park south of Macon, the plant will employ 450 when it opens.
A spokesman for Kumho said the company's goal was to begin production in Macon in January 2016. No ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned, he said.
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