DAYTON, Tenn. — Nokian Tyres P.L.C. has begun trial production at its factory in Dayton, keeping the plant on schedule to begin commercial-scale production by early 2020.
The first tire produced was a Nokian eNTYRE 2.0 passenger tire, size 205/55R16, Nokian said.
"The first tire milestone is significant for our production team, our employees throughout North America and our team around the globe," Nokian Tyres Senior Vice President Mark Earl said.
"We're happy to share this news with our customers, who will benefit from the expanded product range and enhanced service the factory will enable us to offer."
With trial production under way, Nokian will be focusing on hiring more workers to join the 70 or so already working at the site. The company anticipates full employment will be about 400 at its projected nameplate capacity 4 million tires a year in 2023.
The factory's production team recently returned to Tennessee from an intensive six-week training experience at Nokian Tyres' other factories in Russia and Finland. The training trip immersed employees in the company's production processes and introduced them to its life-driven culture, the company said.
Nokia, Finland-based Nokian Tyres broke ground on the $360 million tire factory and warehouse in September 2017. It's Nokian's third factory worldwide and first in the Americas.
The Dayton factory will serve as a catalyst for Nokian Tyres' growth strategy in North America; the company aims to double sales in the region by 2023.