UNIONTOWN, Ohio—Giti Tire Group has settled on Uniontown, south of Akron, as the site for its North American research and development center, which the company announced a year ago.
The North American facility is one of five R&D Centers for Giti Tire, the Singapore-headquartered tire maker with factories in China and Indonesia. The company earlier this year disclosed plans for a $560 million tire plant in South Carolina.
Hamid Aboutorabi, a 25-year veteran of the tire industry, is heading up the Ohio R&D center. His experience includes 17 years as manager of research and engineering services with Kumho America Technical Center in Akron and six years as a senior research engineer with Goodyear.
The new R&D center will handle Giti Tire's product development needs in North America, development and application of advanced design technologies, testing support for North American programs, and technical and logistical support for marketing activities of Giti Tire USA and Giti Tire Canada, the company said.
"We are thrilled to be in our new facility and appreciate the warm welcome we've received from the local community,” Aboutorabi said.
“We look forward to taking advantage of the wealth of tire industry knowledge and resources in the Akron area and to helping our company bring best-in-class products to the North American market.”
Giti did not say what it's budgeted for this center or one in Hanover, Germany, which it also announced last September.
Aboutorabi said tire design equipment and procedures are already in operation at the Uniontown site, and the center's staff has developed original and modified tire designs for implementation into the North American product line.
Giti did not say how big of a staff it expects to have in Uniontown or what physical laboratory or physical testing equipment it will have there.
The new center already has conducted benchmark testing of Giti Tire products sold in North America against competitors.
The company's other R&D centers are in the United Kingdom, China and Indonesia. The company employs more than 600 R&D personnel.