CHANGCHUN, China — Linglong Group has initiated production of truck/bus tires at its newest factory, the $700 million tire plant in Changchun.
The start of production comes 18 months after Linglong — the world's No. 12 tire maker, according to Tire Business calculations — announced plans for the factory. It marks Phase One of Linglong's plans for the factory, which eventually also will produce passenger tires.
Linglong projects the factory will be capable of producing 1.2 million truck/bus tires annually in Phase One.
The 6.46 million-sq.-ft. plant is located at Changchun Automobile Economic & Technological Development Zone, which houses a range of auto makers including FAW-Volkswagen and FAW Jiefang.
Linglong said the plant features "world-class advanced manufacturing equipment" that makes extensive use of industrial cloud, big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, 5G and other advanced technologies.
The facility "fully integrates" tire design, production, management, logistics and marketing, and uses data analysis for early warning, process optimization and production intelligence, Linglong added.
The overall "technological leapfrog development" will improve productivity, and "the all-round greenization," the Changchung-based tire company said.
The first tire produced was an E-Plus01, an all-steel ultra-low rolling-resistance tire with a AA EU label rating, according to Linglong.
The tire maker broke ground on the Changchun facility in August 2020 as part of its global "7+5" expansion strategy.
The project has three phases, which will yield a factory capable of turning out 12 million passenger, 2 million truck/bus tires and 200,000 retreaded truck/bus tires annually.
The breakdown of the phases is as below:
- Phase One: 1.2 million truck and bus tires
- Phase Two: 400,000 truck and bus tires and 6 million passenger car tires
- Phase Three: 400,000 truck and bus tires, 6 million passenger car tires and 200,000 retread truck and bus tires
Linglong expects the plant to generate roughly $670 million in annual revenue and an 8% operating ratio when in full operation.
The plant is Linglong's fifth in China, where it has two more under construction.