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Here they grow again: Toyo starts latest expansion

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James Hawk, president of Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing, addresses the crowd during Toyo's groundbreaking ceremony for its fourth expansion at its White, Ga., facility.

WHITE, Ga.—Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. broke ground on a 1 million sq.-ft.-addition to its White plant on Dec. 6.

The manufacturing facility will expand by 700,000 square feet, and the warehouse facility will increase by 323,000 square feet. The company said the expansion is a result of increasing demand for Toyo and Nitto brand light truck and passenger car tires.

The firm's parent company, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, is investing about $375 million over the next four years. It is expected to create 650 new jobs. It is the fourth expansion to the 2 million sq.-ft. plant since it first broke ground in 2004. It currently employs 1,000.

Toyo is committed to investing $275 million and creating 450 jobs by mid-2016. The firm's mid-term plan is to invest an additional $100 million and add 200 more jobs from 2016 through 2018, according to James Hawk, president of Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing.

“That phase four building is being built twice as big as what we need,” Hawk said. “It will have more floor space to add equipment incrementally in a modular fashion. We're going to build this building, and we want to do it right. The idea beyond 2016 is to fill up the building.”

The facility is expected to be completed by mid-2015, with production beginning by early 2016. Hawk said the firm's expansion timeline when it opened the plant in 2005 was to have phase three completed by 2018 or 2020. It now projects to have phase four at full capacity by that time.

Hawk said the company is proud to manufacture tires for North America on North American soil.

“This plant, and the people who work in it, play an important role in supporting consumers and our dealers as demand for our products continues to grow,” Hawk said.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal joined Hawk for the ground-breaking ceremony. The Bartow-Cartersville Joint Development Authority helped with Toyo's expansion, along with the Georgia Department of Economic Development's director of international projects Scott McMurray and Carl Campbell, the GDEcD's project manager of existing industry and regional recruitment. Both led the state's project team.

The White facility produces a variety of both Toyo and Nitto tire brands for high performance passenger cars, sport-utility vehicles and light trucks. The plant produced its 20 millionth tire on Nov. 17.