TONAWANDA, N.Y.—Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. is planning to double capacity for passenger car and light truck tires at its Tonawanda factory to 10,000 tires per day by the end of 2019.
Sumitomo is budgeting $87 million for the expansion at the New York plant, which was acquired from Goodyear in October as part of the dissolution of Sumitomo's 16-year alliance with Goodyear.
SRI did not comment on the expected effect on employment, which stands at 1,198, nor say whether the project would involve physical changes to the 93-year-old structure.
The Japanese company—represented in North America by Sumitomo Rubber North America L.L.C. in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.—said the expansion will “enhance our ability to produce tires locally for the North American market, focusing especially on expanding local production of SUV tires, which are in particularly high demand in North America.”
The move will allow the company to reduce sales lead times while enhancing its ability to supply high-performance SUV tires, environmentally friendly fuel-efficient tires and other high-value-added tires to customers in North America.
Sumitomo goes to market in North America with the Falken and Ohtsu brand names.
Along those lines, the company said it already has begun transferring production of some tires for North America from its plant in Amati City, Thailand.
The Tonawanda plant, which opened in 1923 by Dunlop Tyre Ltd., also has capacities for medium radial truck and radial motorcycle tires.
Workers at the plant are represented by United Steelworkers Union Local 135.