KRANJ, Slovenia—Goodyear is planning to expand capacity at its plant in Kranj by about 25 percent by 2022 with the addition of building equipment for larger rim-diameter tires.
The expansion, valued at $107 million, will add more than 58,000 square feet to the factory that Goodyear has owned since 1998. The expansion will boost capacity by 1.8 million units a year and create up to 160 jobs, Goodyear said.
Henry Dumortier, vice president consumer, Europe, said the expansion will help Goodyear keep pace with growing demand for premium larger rim-diameter tires throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Production will focus on replacement tires with 17- to 19-inch rim diameters, Goodyear said. Current annual capacity is listed as about 8 million units with 1,600 employees.
The first phase of construction will begin in January, Goodyear said, with additional phases planned for 2020 and 2021 to reach full capacity.
The decision to invest in the Kranj plant "reflects the company's trust and confidence in our local team's high-quality production and is a great recognition of our performance over the last 20 years," Matej Zavrl, managing director of Goodyear Dunlop Sava Tires d.o.o.
Since buying into Sava Tires in 1998, Goodyear has invested over $300 million to develop its Kranj facility and produced over 130 million tires there.
The factory itself was built in 1956 by the Yugoslav state-owned company operating under the Sava name. Starting in the late 1960s it was partnered with the Austrian tire maker Semperit and then later with Continental A.G. after Conti purchased Semperit.
That relationship lasted into the 1990s, when Goodyear opened talks with local management and then took a 60-percent shareholding in 1998. It secured 100 percent control in 2004.