FINDLAY, Ohio—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is investing about $55 million at a tire plant in Serbia to expand capacity and broaden the site's production portfolio by the end of this year.
The project also positions the facility in Krusevac for potential dramatic expansion in the future.
This current work at the location known as Cooper Tire Serbia, which includes both equipment improvements and increased space, will add 118 jobs, Cooper said.
"Cooper Tire Serbia is substantially increasing tire production capacity at our Krusevac site, which is a key facility within Cooper's global manufacturing network," Cooper CEO Brad Hughes said in a statement. The plant makes tires for Europe and "other global markets," he said.
"This project will enable the facility to manufacture light truck tires, including 4x4 tires, and large diameter tires up to 22 inches in addition to the passenger car and sport-utility vehicle tires it currently produces," he continued.
Cooper acquired the plant, previously operated by Trayal Corp., in early 2012 for about $17.4 million with initial plans to sink tens of millions of dollars into upgrading the facility that was 35 years old at that time.
The plant, about 125 miles south of Belgrade, is receiving approximately $8 million of incentives from the Serbian government to help with the project, the company said.
Upgrades at the facility, which are already under way, will allow for the production of "new, larger diameter tires being demanded in Europe and other global markets," Cooper said.
Production will increase by one-third when the project is complete later this year. The work also is creating a footprint that would allow for the further doubling of capacity in the future with additional equipment and manpower, the company said.
Cooper calls its facility one of the "most significant U.S. investments" in Serbia.