OSAKA, Japan (June 4)—Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. has confirmed Bartow County, Ga., as the site for its first U.S. passenger tire plant.
The firm settled on a 150-acre plot in Bartow County as the "most suitable" site after three and half months of evaluating that and other sites in the U.S. Southeast, Toyo said.
The company said it will invest $150 million to build a 1.03 million-sq.-ft. factory, with an annual initial capacity of 2 million tires. About 430,000 square feet of the facility will be warehousing, Toyo said, to serve its markets in the Southeast.
Production is scheduled to begin by March 2006, Toyo said. The plant will employ 350 initially.
Toyo said it would use a proprietary tire manufacturing system at the new factory, involving automation technology that yields small production runs of a multiple lines of tires.
Toyo chose the site despite opposition from a local residents' group, which lobbied against the project because it maintained taxpayers would have to foot the bill for bringing utilities and roads to the rural site.
The plant will be operated by Toyo Tire North America Inc., a new subsidiary. Shozo Kibata, president of Toyo Tire (USA) Corp. and a corporate officer of the parent company, will be president of the new unit.