TOKYO (Feb. 16, 2012)—Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. plans to add as much as 20 million units of new annual production capacity worldwide in the 2014-17 period and is committing upwards of $1.75 billion to that end, the company said in its latest long-range forecast.
Expansion projects under way at plants in Russia, China, Philippines and Thailand will boost the company's annual capacity by 7 million units, or about 12.5 percent, to 66 million units by 2014, Yokohama said.
The next phase of expansion, to coincide with the final phase of the company's Grand Design 100 strategy leading up to the firm's centennial year in 2017, would boost global capacity by more than 30 percent to 86 million units annually, Yokohama said.
To achieve an increase of that magnitude, Yokohama will look at building an as-yet undisclosed number of plants, with sites in North and South America, China and India under consideration. Expansion also could come in the form of expanding existing plants in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Russia.
Along with expanding capacity, Yokohama will continue to invest in innovation, such as the BluEarth technology designed to benefit the earth, society and individuals through environmental safeguards. The company also is collaborating with third-party research organizations on projects aimed at developing “high-functionality tire technologies” that it hopes will deliver quality products at competitive prices and at timely intervals.
In specific product categories, YRC said it will strive to produce products with best-in-class fuel economy and products of high functionality. It will fortify its offerings in consumer tires under its Advan brand for high-performance products, BluEarth brand for fuel-saving tires, iceGUARD brand for winter tires and Geolandar brand for sport-utility vehicle tires.
In commercial tires, the company hopes to differentiate its products through original technology and lifetime product support. Among product offerings, Yokohama intends to broaden its offerings of ultra-low-profile truck tires and expand its market presence in retreaded tires. On the OTR side, Yokohama said it will try to strengthen its position by moving into tires with rim diameters of 49 inches and larger.
Yokohama also intends to improve its ability to support local demand with locally manufactured products; this goal will include establishing local research and development capabilities in principal markets and improving its global supply chain management.