China's Triangle Group Co. Ltd. is building a $465 million truck and car tire plant near its headquarters in Wehei, Shandong, to support its growth plans domestically and internationally.
The new plant, located less than 10 miles from Triangle's 33-year-old manufacturing complex in Weihei, is expected to be operational by the first quarter of next year, according to Ding Yuhua, Triangle Group chairman and president.
Interviewed at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas, Ding said the new plant will be capable of producing 5.6 million truck/bus and 8 million passenger tires annually. This compares with 3.5 million truck/bus and 20 million car tires a year at Triangle's existing plants, along with 200,000 units of OTR tire and 3.5 million units of bias-ply tire capacity.
The plant also is being designed and engineered to minimize raw materials waste and energy usage, Ding said. Adding the new plant will boost employment by about 1,100 over the firm's existing work force of 9,600, he said.
Triangle Group is projecting 15 to 20 percent growth this year over the $1.77 billion reported last year, Ding said, and expects to at least repeat that scale of growth next year vs. 2009. Triangle is considered the 15th largest tire maker globally, according to Rubber & Plastics News' annual global tire rankings.
Triangle's sales are split roughly 50-50 domestic/export, Ding said, and North A-merica is the largest export market. Truck tires account for about half the firm's sales, with passenger at 20 percent, OTR 15 to 17 percent and the rest bias tires for the Chinese market.
Triangle deals directly with customers in North America, but company officials said the firm is evaluating the need for a U.S. office to support its sales efforts here.