ZATEC, Czech Republic — Trial production has started at Nexen Tire Europe's car and light truck tire plant in Zatec, three and a half years after construction began on the $1 billion factory in the country's northwest region.
The first tire was "ceremonially dispatched" by Nexen Tire Corp. CEO Travis Kang on April 24, Nexen said in a written statement.
An official opening ceremony will be held "later this year," the company said without providing details.
Start-up of the first phase of the factory, producing roughly 15,000 units a day, originally was scheduled for 2018. Nexen plans to increase production at the facility to more than 12 million units a year.
Zatec is Nexen's second plant outside of South Korea; the other is in Qingdao, China.
The factory will be a cornerstone for Nexen's business efforts in Europe, which are concentrated at the firm's new European headquarters and technical center, opened last September in Kelkheim, Germany.
Sales in Europe last year totaled $500 million, or roughly 28 percent of the company's global revenues.