KOHALA COAST, Hawaii (Feb. 25, 2008) — Titan International Inc. said it will expand capacity for large off-the-road and agricultural tires this year to meet rising demand.
The announcement comes a week after workers at Titan's Bryan, Ohio, plant produced the company's first 63-inch prototype tire, part of an expansion program Titan disclosed nine months ago.
Titan originally envisioned making about 6,000 of the ultra-large tires this year but now plans to devote enough resources at that factory to product up 15,000 larger-sized units, Chairman and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr. said at the Tire Industry Association OTR Tire Conference in Kohala Coast. They won't all be 63-inchers, but will include 49- and 57-inch sizes.
Taylor also disclosed Titan will add about 28 agricultural tire curing presses, ranging in press sizes from 85 to 100 inches, at its tire facilities to increase capacity for larger size farm tires.
The presses should be installed by August to ease shortages in the large agricultural tire segment, Taylor said most of the presses would go in the Des Moines, Iowa, plant but indicated some of them could go into the Freeport, Ill., plant, where Titan has threatened to move some farm tire capacity out of Freeport unless workers there agree to some workplace changes to make the plant more profitable.
Taylor didn't say what investment the company will make in the presses. The company has budgeted at least $30 million to fund the installation of capacity at Bryan for the large OTR tires.
At the time, Taylor said production of 6,000 large OTR tires would generate up to $240 million in new sales.