CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Hankook Tire America Corp. said tire production continues to ramp up on schedule at its new $580 million plant in Clarksville.
The South Korean tire maker said commercial tire production will commence later this year, as planned.
"We are currently ramping up tire production at the facility as we hire and train employees," the tire maker said in a statement. "While the plant is not producing tires for commercial distribution at this time, the plant is operational, and our production ramp-up is tracking with the updated timeline."
Hankook said the plant is focused on training employees and refining processes as commercial production ramps up. A spokesman said the company expects to hire 1,000 employees by year-end.
"We are well on our way to meeting that goal," the spokesman said. "We are building fruitful partnerships with local recruiters, universities and the nearby Fort Campbell military base in our effort to hire qualified workers to build our products."
Hankook plans to ramp up production by 2018 to the rated capacity of 16,000 units a day.
The factory's output is expected to generate approximately $500 million in annual sales revenue at full capacity, the company said in a 2016 financial statement, and provide Hankook the resources to boost its original equipment sales, especially in the premium sector.
Hankook already supplies Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Honda North America Inc. and Hyundai/Kia Automotive in North America.
Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. is targeting 15-percent revenue growth in fiscal 2017 after reporting a 24.7-percent better operating profit for fiscal 2016 on 3.1-percent higher sales.
For fiscal 2016, Hankook reported operating income of $951.1 million on sales of $5.71 billion. As a result, the operating ratio jumped three percentage points to 16.7 percent.
Like all new Hankook factories, the Tennessee plant will be constructed in four phases. Phase 2 will see the capacity double to 11 million units.
When all four phases are completed, the plant will have the capability of producing 22 million tires a year.