WHITE, Ga. (Dec.8)—Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. dedicated its first wholly-owned tire production facility outside of Japan today in a ceremony in White, a rural Georgia city about 50 miles outside of Atlanta. Guests included more than 350 company officials from Japan and the U.S., tire dealers, local officials and guests from 35 countries.
The automated factory, which is operated by Toyo Tire North America Inc., represents an investment of $180 million. It features Toyo's proprietary tire production system called A.T.O.M (Advanced Tire Operation Module) where no one touches the tire until final inspection, said James L. Hawk, senior vice president and plant manager.
A.T.O.M. is designed for multi-product, small lot production and enables Toyo to reduce its space needs and manufacturing lead times, according to the company.
Currently, Toyo is producing test tires at the facility. It expects to complete the first phase by June, which will include 12 production modules capable of making 2 million passenger and light truck tires a year under the Toyo and Nitto brands.
Toyo will employ 350 initially at the plant. If Toyo proceeds with two future phases, production capacity would increase to 6 million units annually and employment to 900.