Mr. Kanwar said his company already has looked at three or four states to consider as sites for a new plant but said it's "too early" to disclose specifics. He said his goal is for 10 percent of Apollo's revenue to be driven by the North American market within five years.
Mr. Smidlein, based for now at Apollo's U.S. headquarters in Metuchen, N.J., continues to assemble his North American team. Within the next couple of years, the firm should have about 25 employees working toward Mr. Kanwar's goal of entering the U.S.
"(Opening the plant in Hungary) shows that the North American market is the next step," Mr. Smidlein said. "This shows the globalization of our company and what we are capable of doing."
As part of his U.S. strategy, Mr. Kanwar said he envisions opening a satellite research and development office, initially based at Apollo's R&D center in The Netherlands, to work specifically on U.S. product. Apollo has three other R&D sites — one in India and two satellite offices (in India and Germany).
Mr. Kanwar said Apollo's growth in Thailand is an example of what the firm plans for the U.S. market. Two years into the process of establishing a presence there — which he called "a very competitive landscape" — he said the tire maker is crossing the $60 million sales per year mark there.