SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — As the expansion of Sumitomo Rubber USA, L.L.C. (SRUSA) continues, the historic and versatile tire production facility near Buffalo, N.Y. already has started building new Falken-brand tires.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (SRI) is investing around $130 million in the project to nearly double capacity at the 100-year-old facility located north of the city in Tonawanda, N.Y.
The plant mostly builds Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc.'s Falken tires — SRNA's flagship brand that includes passenger, light and medium truck tires.
The Buffalo plant is unique in that it can build multiple tire types. It just needed more room for capacity, Rick Brennan, SRNA vice president of marketing said during an August Falken tire dealer trip in Puerto Rico.
"Before we always had huge factories that made as few things as they could — little variety. You make a lot of them and control the cost per unit," Brennan said. "But now, as the market segments you have to build multiple products in one factory, which impacts total volume."