UPPER HUTT, New Zealand (April 11)—South Pacific Tyres Ltd. will invest about $5 million at its Upper Hutt passenger tire plant this year to expand output nearly two-thirds and prepare the site for around-the-clock operation. The expansion, to 2.4 million tires a year from 1.4 million, will absorb some capacity being phased out by South Pacific in Australia. The project will create 140 jobs, the company said. The 51-year-old plant employs 300. In Australia, South Pacific is in the process of shutting down its Footscray commercial tire and Thomastown passenger tire plants and consolidating car tire output at its Somerton factory.