TOKYO — Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. (YRC) plans to phase out production of karting tires by year-end, ending two-plus decades of participation in the sport, both nationally and internationally.
Yokohama said it came to this decision "after careful consideration of various viewpoints" and will fulfill its responsibilities under existing contracts with kart racing series, events and other customers and continue to supply tires until the contracts' expiration.
The company announced in 2020 its intention to phase this business out.
YRC tied the decision to provisions of its Yokohama Transformation 2023 (YX2023) medium-term management plan, which promotes restructuring of the company's business toward targeted growth over the next generation. During the 2021-23 period, Yokohama Rubber is working to maximize the sales ratios of high-value-added tires in its consumer tire business.
YRC said this decision does not impact its participation in other motorsports activities, it considers "crucial" to its development of advanced tire technologies that contribute to its development of high-performance tires.
Accordingly, the company will continue to supply its tires to a wide variety of motorsports events in Japan and around the globe, from top-category to grassroots events.
YRC has been active in karting since 2001 and has provided tires for karting races certified by the Japan Automobile Federation and the International Automobile Federation's International Karting Commission (CIK-FIA). Yokohama karting tires also include tires for hobby, rental, and indoor karts.
Yokohama did not elaborate on the size or scale of the business nor disclose any financial implications of the move.