DAYTON, Tenn. — Nokian Tyres North America has begun commercial-sale production at its plant in Dayton, 30 months after breaking ground on the factory and eight months after the start of trial production.
At full capacity, the $830 million factory will be capable of turning out 4 million passenger and light truck tires annually, the company said. During the start-up phase, the factory is producing the company's enTYRE touring and WRG4 all-weather tires.
"The start of commercial production at Dayton is a significant milestone for our customers and employees," Hille Korhonen, president and CEO of parent company Nokian Tyres P.L.C., said.
"We are eager to provide North American drivers with a larger volume of high-quality tires as we grow our relationships with our partners."
The start of commercial-scale production is one of several milestones Nokian Tyres envisions for this year, including the dedication of a solar-powered administration building that will feature offices, meeting spaces, employee wellness facilities and even a sauna.
Nokian has committed to doubling sales in North America over the 2019-2024 period to approximately $400 million.
Employment at the Dayton factory should rise to 400 at full capacity, the company said, but roughly 100 there now.
"The Dayton factory is a vital growth driver for us in North America, and we're glad it remains on track to deliver premium value to our customers and drivers," Mark Earl, senior vice president, Americas, said.
"It will enable us to shorten delivery lead times, satisfy rising demand for our products and help the Southeast Tennessee community grow in the process."
The plant is Nokian's third worldwide. The others are in Nokia, Finland, and Vsevolozhsk, Russia.
In fiscal 2019, Nokian reported a 15% drop in operating profit to $354.4 million while global sales remained flat at $1.79 billion.