WHITE, Ga.—Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. plans to expand its North American research and development center, setting up a dedicated business development unit for the market.
The firm, in a Jan. 11 news release, said it expects to complete the expansion during 2017. The project will build upon the product development capabilities, resources and personnel at the firm's existing Toyo Tire North American R&D department.
Financial details of the project were not disclosed.
The firm added that employment will increase at each stage—product planning, product design, and commercialization—projecting a 50 percent increase to the R&D staff. New equipment to measure and evaluate the static and dynamic properties of the tire will be introduced, and Toyo said it plans to accelerate product evaluation and feedback into the development process.
It expects the added capability will put it in a better position to expedite development of both original equipment and replacement tires that more closely meets customer needs.
Toyo established its manufacturing base at White in 2005, supplying the market with tires developed in collaboration with the firm's R&D headquarters in Itami City, Japan. Most recently, the facility completed its Phase 4 plant expansion in 2016, which increased annual production capacity to 11.5 million tires, making it Toyo Tire group's largest tire manufacturing facility.
The Osaka, Japan-based company has also created a North America business development division at its headquarters, which will be directly involved with promoting the North American business and enable swift decision-making.