FINDLAY, Ohio (Feb. 24)—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will source about 1 million entry-level passenger car radials from China this year as part of its strategy to convert U.S. capacity to higher margin performance tires.
Cooper will source the tires from Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. in Hangzhou, China, the same company that is taking over Cooper's medium truck radial production. Hangzhou Zhongce will make six sizes of Cooper-, Mastercraft-, Dean- and Starfire-brand passenger tires, Cooper said, using Cooper specifications and quality standards specifically for the North American market. Tires should be available starting in the third quarter.
"This outsourcing arrangement will help us meet our growing demand," said Tire Group President Dick Stephens. "By outsourcing some of our broadline products, we can devote more production capacity to the more exotic performance tires. We have increased capacity at all of our U.S. plants and these tires will help fill in the gap between our capacity and projected demand."
Cooper engineers are on site in China developing the tire and conducting audits to assure all products comply with its quality standards and exceed all governmental requirements, Cooper said.