MACON, Ga. (May 12, 2008) — Kumho Tire Co. Ltd. broke ground today on a $165 million, 5.7-million-sq.-ft. tire plant in Bibb County, Ga., which will start up b the end of 2009.
The ground breaking went ahead despite heavy storm damage in Macon and Bibb County from a series of tornados that struck the area May 11, according to a spokesman for the Macon Economic Development Commission.
The plant will have an initial annual capacity of 2.1 million passenger tires with more than 200 employees, Kumho said. A second-phase expansion — slated for completion by 2011 — would boost capacity to 3.15 million tires and create 200 more jobs at an additional cost of $60 million, the company said previously.
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and Sae-Chu Oh, Kumho Tire president and CEO, led the ground- breaking ceremony. The site is located on 127 acres in Sofkee Industrial Park just south of the Macon city limits in southern Bibb County.
Oh said establishing a production facility in the world's biggest tire market will help Kumho respond faster to the needs of customers in the region, while reinforcing its cost and price competitiveness.
This plant will expand to nine the number of Kumho plants worldwide—three plants in South Korea, four in China and one in Vietnam, which began operations in March. Kumho is building a fourth plant in China, for truck bus radial tires in Nanjing.
Kumho's production capacity outside of South Korea will reach 33 million tires by end of 2008, exceeding domestic production by 32 million tires. A year later, Kumho's international capacity, boosted by the plants in Nanjing and Georgia, will rise to 77 million tires.