CLARKSVILLE, Tenn.—Following on opening its first North American production plant, Hankook Tire America Corp. is planning for more growth in 2018.
That includes making more tires in the U.S. that are tailored for the U.S. market, Jay Kim, vice president of corporate strategy, said in an email interview.
The new 1.5 million-sq.-ft. production plant was officially unveiled in October of last year, and Hankook already has hired more than 1,000 workers for manufacturing and plant management positions.
"We are making thousands of tires every day thanks to a vibrant, productive employee base. We have built close relationships with state and local leaders and community organizations," Kim said. "We have enhanced our relationships with customers by shortening distribution lead times and producing high-quality products built for American roads."
Kim said Hankook chose Clarksville for the facility primarily because of its strong work force.
"The area is producing talent at a rapid pace, thanks to the Fort Campbell Military Base, Austin Peay State University and the outstanding local school system," he said.
Hankook received local and state incentives focused on helping hire and train workers for the facility, with the bulk of the funding coming in the form of reimbursements for the investments made to strengthen the local community, Kim said.
"As a result, we are essentially incentivized for the positive economic impact we provide Clarksville and the state," he said.
The new facility is in its first phase, and Hankook is planning a second, which would enable it to increase production volume and distribution. The plant can produce about 5.5 million tires per year, and Phase 2 will "essentially double that capacity," Kim said.
"Rising demand for Hankook products is driving us to bolster our production and distribution processes, and we are eager to rise to that challenge," he said.
Phase 2, an investment of about $800 million committed to the state, will create about 800 new jobs, Kim said. No timeline for the second phase was disclosed.