AKRON—Goodyear is making strides to further expand its base in China and the Asia-Pacific region.
It recently opened the company's first development center in China to help service auto makers in that part of the world, and it revealed plans to boost capacity there.
Located adjacent to the firm's expanding tire production factory in Pulandian, China, the development center will increase its capabilities in the Asian sector, according to a company spokesman. Goodyear said the facility also will enable it to improve the speed and efficiency of tire development.
It did not disclose the cost of the project or the size of the new facility.
With the new development center in place, the tire maker will have an easier time entering new original equipment markets in China, including the new energy vehicles segment, the company said. The center will bring Goodyear's teams working in China much closer to the firm's customers, especially when it concerns original equipment applications, the spokesman said.
“China is the world's largest and fastest growing market for passenger cars and commercial trucks, and critical to Goodyear's growth strategy,” Chairman and CEO Richard Kramer said in a statement.
He said the development center will be an integral part of the firm's network of global centers “and strengthen our innovation leadership role in the global tire industry.”
Core technology will continue to be developed at Goodyear's innovation centers in Akron and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, while the development facility in China will focus on product customization for original equipment fitments and project support services.
Akron-headquartered Goodyear also operates development centers in Hanau, Germany, and Hebron, Ohio.
“The time is right for us to increase our capabilities in China to ensure we remain first with our customers,” Kramer said. “We have built strong relationships with original equipment manufacturers, and our investment in this new development center will allow us to expand our new product offerings, accelerate our speed to market and increase the value we deliver to these key customers.”
Meanwhile, Goodyear also is expanding its manufacturing base in Pulandian.
The tire maker said in China that it is investing about $135 million through 2017 to add capacity for the production of more than 2 million car tires annually at the Pulandian factory.
Its expansion project will include capacity for 48,000 run-flat tires a year, it said, and the plant will occupy 1.25 million square feet. It plans to add machinery at the site.
Capacity at the four-year-old complex would be increased by nearly a quarter to 10.5 million units.
Goodyear opened the plant in 2011 after relocating manufacturing there from a factory in Dalian. It added capacity for medium radial tires in 2012. The company said at the time that it made the move because it was land-locked in Dalian.
The Goodyear spokesman in the U.S. did not confirm the expansion, noting that an announcement has not been made about an addition in China, and he was unable to comment on it.
European Rubber Journal contributed to this report.