JINGMEN, China — Shandong Linglong Tire Co. Ltd. has inaugurated production of passenger tires at its newest factory, the $875 million plant in Jingmen, Hubei Province, that the company built over an 18-month period.
Passenger tire production started Dec. 30, just over a month after the facility started production of radial truck and bus tires, the company said.
The new plant, Linglong's fourth in China, has rated annual capacities of 12 million radial passenger tires, 2.4 million radial truck/bus tires and 600,000 off-the-road tires, the company said.
The opening of this plant, which operates as Hubei Linglong Tire Co. Ltd., represents a "major milestone" in the company's growth plan, the company said.
At full production, the new subsidiary is expected to generate over $700 million in annual sales, Linglong said.
The 7.5 million sq.-ft. plant will integrate intelligent manufacturing, PLM (product lifecycle management), industrial big data application and a high-end brand, Linglong added. Helping the company overcome "regional restriction", Linglong said that the new location will serve customers "at zero distance, improve market share and reduce logistics cost."
In 2017, Linglong moved to a "5+3" strategy, with plans to build the fourth manufacturing base in Jingmen and increase its international locations to three.
The company opened a plant in Thailand in 2014 and is building its second overseas unit in Serbia to serve the European market, while also mulling a plant in the U.S. as its third overseas factory.
Linglong is considered China's second largest tire maker and 17th largest worldwide, based on fiscal 2018 sales of $2.32 billion, according to Tire Business' Global Tire Report.