FINDLAY, Ohio (July 10)—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has authorized Taiwan's Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. to make radial passenger tires for Cooper's international division at a new plant in China. Cooper said the tires will be marketed under a variety of brand names, including Cooper and Avon, and will be distributed through the Cooper-Avon subsidiary in Melksham, England, primarily to customers in Europe. Cooper and Kenda have had an off-take arrangement for some time in which Kenda produced bias light truck tires for sale by Cooper in the U.S. and international markets. Cooper discontinued bias tire production in 1999, dedicating the freed capacity to radial light truck tires. Kenda will make the tires for Cooper-Avon at a tire plant near Shanghai, China, with technical guidance from Cooper. Richard Stephens, Cooper's international division president, said the arrangment "allows us to shift our internal production capacity to the higher-speed-rated performance radials without (making) a major capital outlay. As we continue to grow our relationship with Kenda, there may be other opportunities to expand Cooper's business in Asia," he said. Cooper said it will relocate engineering staff to the Kenda plant to facilitate production and assist with technical details. Kenda is also the exclusive distributor for Cooper Tire in Taiwan.
Kenda Rubber to make Cooper tires in China
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