DAYTON, Tenn.—Site preparation work for Nokian Tyres P.L.C.'s $360 million Dayton tire plant is scheduled to start in August, according to the Finnish tire maker.
Nokian said site master planning has begun in coordination with the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council (RETC) on the plant, which will be built in Dayton, a town of about 7,000 located between Chattanooga and Knoxville in Rhea County in eastern Tennessee.
"We have an aggressive schedule in front of us, and we're excited about the progress that has been made so far," said Dennis Tumlin, executive director of the RETC. "Our project team is fully aligned, and we're moving swiftly to have the building underway in early January 2018.
Tumlin said prospective Nokian vendors can fill out the vendor information request form, located at rheaecd.com/nokian-tyres, to keep updated on future opportunities.
Nokian announced May 2 that it plans to build the 830,000-sq.-ft. plant, which will be rated at 4 million car and light truck tires a year. It will be the tire maker's third manufacturing plant and first in North America; the location allows for future expansion.
According to Nokian, as many as 400 jobs will be created in various specialties, including quality control, logistics, shipping, manufacturing, building services and administration.
"We're proud to report that about half of our total investment will flow right back into the local Rhea County economy," said Tommi Heinonen, head of Nokian's North American subsidiary, which is headquartered in Colchester, Vt.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2018 with the plant being fully operational by 2020. The site also will house a distribution facility with a storage capacity of 600,000 tires.
The new plant will service customers across the U.S. and Canada, concentrating on the production of North American-specific car and light truck all-season tires.
Nokian has launched a number of North American-dedicated tire lines in the past few years, including the zLine A/S passenger and Rockproof light truck tires introduced last year, or the enTyre premium all-season line introduced in 2009 and renewed in 2015.
Tumlin said this investment is the single largest initial job announcement by a private company in Rhea County history.
The plant will be the seventh tire factory in Tennessee. Bridgestone Americas and Carlstar Group L.L.C. both operate two and Specialty Tires of America one. Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. is opening a plant this year in Clarksville.
Tennessee is considered the No. 5 state in the U.S. in terms of tire manufacturing, with nearly 52,000 units a day of combined capacity and 3,675 employees.
Nokian, the world's northernmost tire manufacturer, has approximately 4,400 employees and net sales of approximately $1.5 billion.