Some of the larger expansion projects announced in the past year include:
Bridgestone disclosed $225 million in specific investment projects, the largest of which is a $100 million upgrade/expansion of capacity at its Bridgestone de Mexico S.A. de C.V. unit's car and light truck tire plant in Cuernavaca.
The investment will allow the implementation of innovative processes and new technologies, while also strengthening the plant's capacity to produce high value-added tires such as run-flat tires. The 38-year-old plant in Mexico's Morelos state has an installed capacity of approximately 25,000 tires per day.
In Europe, Bridgestone is committing $41 million over four years to digitize the manufacturing processes at its eight European tire plants with a goal of meeting "evolving" customer demands faster and more flexibly.
The smart factory project will address energy savings, efficiency increases, waste reduction and process simplification.
In North America, Bridgestone is investing $40 million in its Warren County, Tenn., truck/bus tire plant to expand capacity by about 8% to 9,400 tires a day by year-end 2020, and $45 million in Canada to build an automated warehouse in Joliette, adjacent to its passenger and light truck tire plant there.
In Europe, Continental A.G. is investing $114 million to add capacity for larger diameter radial earthmoving and port materials-handling tires at its 73-year-old tire plant in Lousado, Portugal. The investment includes funding to expand an on-site research and development lab that is dedicated to off-road tires, the company said.
In North America, Conti invested roughly $10 million to build an Advanced Indoor Evaluation Center at its proving grounds in Uvalde, Texas, and is committing an undisclosed amount at its Sumter, S.C., car/light truck tire plant to add capacity for its ContiSeal puncture-sealing and ContiSilent noise-absorbing passenger tire lines.
In Asia, Conti broke ground on a $30 million plant in Rayong, Thailand, dedicated to motorcycle tires "in the immediate vicinity" of its recently opened passenger tire plant in that city. Set for operation in 2021, the plant will focus initially on radial tires and later will expand to manufacture bias-ply models as well.
COOPER TIRE & RUBBER CO.
Cooper Tire and Sailun Vietnam Co. Ltd. have agreed to set up a joint venture to oversee the construction of a radial truck/bus tire plant in Vietnam rated at more than 2 million units annually. The proposed venture will be located near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, at the site of Sailun Vietnam's existing operations and represents an investment of $220 million to $240 million.
The venture will extend Cooper's relationship with Sailun Jinyu Group Co. Ltd. — Sailun Vietnam's Qindao, China-based parent company — which already involves an offtake production agreement covering production of Cooper's Roadmaster-brand truck/bus tires at the company's Vietnam plant and Sailun Jinyu's pending purchase of a 35% stake in Cooper's Qingdao Ge Rui Da Rubber Co. Ltd. (GRT) joint venture in Qingdao.
In the U.S., Cooper is evaluating options regarding a possible expansion of its Tupelo, Miss. car factory to keep pace with growing demand for its products.
The company has submitted applications totaling $7.4 million to the city, covering upgrades to the plant's mixing department and green-tire storage area.
FINIXX GLOBAL INDUSTRY
Finixx Global, a Thai supplier of self-sealing tires under the Finixx brand, reportedly is planning to build a plant in Baoji, Shaanxi Province, according to a media reports in China.
The project represents an investment of $156 million and will be located at Baoji's Jinhe Industrial Park. The plant would be rated at 5 million tires a year, the reports said.
Goodyear is budgeting $180 million to modernize operations and expand capacity at its 50-year-old Fayetteville, N.C. plant, for larger rim-diameter passenger tires. The project includes $30 million in jobs-related incentives approved by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
The Fayetteville plant is rated at 40,000 units a day with 2,900 employees.
Goodyear also is evaluating its domestic operations in a bid to reduce low-value, high-cost capacity in the U.S., a move that could result in additional investments, the company told the financial community recently.
In Europe, Goodyear disclosed plans to invest $36 million in its factory in Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, to increase production of OTR tires and make process improvements, and $107 million at its Goodyear Dunlop Sava Tires plant in Kranj, Slovenia, to expand capacity by about 25 percent by 2022 with the addition of building equipment for larger rim-diameter tires.
The expansion will boost capacity by 1.8 million units a year and create up to 160 jobs, Goodyear said. Production will focus on replacement tires with 17- to 19-inch rim diameters, Goodyear said. Current annual capacity is listed as about 8 million units with 1,600 employees.
JIANGSU CHENGTAI VEHICLE
Jiangsu Chengtai Vehicle, a newly established company, is planning to build a motorcycle and specialty tire plant in northern Jiangsu Province valued at $152 million. The company's proposed project, located in Lianyungang's Zhewang Coastal Industrial Zone, would have an annual capacity of 6.6 million units — 3.2 million motorcycle tires, 600,000 golf cart tires, 200,000 all-terrain vehicle tires, 1 million snowmobile tires and 1.6 million tubes.
JIANGSU GENERAL SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY CO. LTD.
Reacting to increasing international trade barriers, JGST announced plans to build a passenger and truck/bus tire plant in Thailand's Rayong Industrial Zone and is committing up to $300 million for the project. The plant is designed with capacities of 6 million passenger tires and 1 million truck/bus tires annually, the company said.
JK TYRE & INDUSTRIES LTD.
India's JK Tyre has budgeted $96 million to upgrade and expand capacity for truck and tractor tire capacity at the Kolkata, India, factory of its Cavendish Industries Ltd. affiliate. The project follows a three-year investment package JK committed to the former Kesoram Industries unit, which it acquired in 2016.
China's Zhaoqing Junhong Corp. Ltd. — d.b.a. Maxtrek Tyres — broke ground June 15 on a car and truck tire plant in the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park in Kuantan, Malaysia. The plant, Maxtrek's first outside of China, is designed to produce 6 million car and light truck tires and 500,000 truck/bus tires a year.
The company, which goes to market with the Antares and Maxtrek brands, said the project represents an investment of "several hundreds of millions" of Malaysian ringgit (100 million ringgit equals about $24 million at prevailing currency exchange rates).
Michelin has acquired Indonesia's P.T. Multistrada Ara Sarana Tbk., producer and marketer of the Achilles and Corsa brands as well as a number of private brands, paying $545 million for a company that generated $316 million in sales last year.
The 25-year-old company operates an annual production capacity of more than 180,000 metric tons, or 11 million passenger car tires, 9 million two-wheeler tires and 250,000 truck tires.