MACON, Ga. (Jan. 29, 2008) — South Korea's Kumho Tire Co. Inc. has selected a site near Macon for its first tire plant in North America, a $225 million passenger and light truck tire factory due on stream by the end of 2009.
Kumho, the 10th largest tire maker worldwide, expects to break ground in May on phase one of a 5.5-million-sq.-ft. factory that will feature a Kumho-developed automated tire manufacturing technology. The plant will be built on 127 acres in Sofkee Industrial Park near Macon.
The plant, the company's seventh worldwide, will be built in two phases. The first phase, encompassing annual capacity for 2.1 million tires, should be on stream by year-end 2009, Kumho said. It will represent an investment of $165 million and create 400 jobs.
A second phase, budgeted at $60 million, will boost capacity to 3.1 million tires and create about 50 more jobs when it's completed in 2011, the company said.
Kumho announced the deal today in Macon with CEO Sae Chul Oh and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue in attendance. Also attending were Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Macon Mayor Robert Reichert; and Charlie Bishop, chairman of the Bibb County Board of Commissioners.
"The U.S. is one of the greatest tire markets in the world," Oh said. "Setting a base of production here will help Kumho gain more market share. This new plant will help Kumho reduce freight costs and will also set up a stronger base for the company to achieve its goal of becoming the fifth largest tire company in the world by 2015."
Kumho cited several reasons for its site selection, including state and local incentives, low labor costs and proximity to transportation and customers.
Kumho reported U.S. sales of $565 million last year.