NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Hankook Tire America Corp. plans to invest $85 million in 2021 as part of a Phase II expansion of its 4-year-old tire plant in Clarksville, Tenn., in part to accommodate production of some tire types being transferred from plants in South Korea.
Hankook Tire America parent Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. disclosed its plans for the Clarksville plant in its fiscal 2021 earnings report.
The U.S. company said the Phase II expansion, when completed toward year-end 2023 or early 2024, will boost capacity at the plant by 4.5 million to 5 million tires a year.
Hankook said expanding the plant's production portfolio is an ongoing process and not just in response to the pending import duties the U.S. has proposed for passenger and light truck tires from South Korea. Hankook's assessed duty is 38.07 percent.
The plan is "part of Hankook's strategy to diversify production and the Tennessee plant's efforts to create an optimal production facility by re-establishing manpower, lines, equipment adjustments, etc.," the company said.
The Clarksville plant opened in October 2017, three years after the firm broke ground on the $800 million project and with a Phase I capacity of 5.5 million tires a year.
The company said at that time it intended to double the plant's capacity eventually but declined then to say when.
The plant currently employs 1,200. Hankook did not comment on what the Phase II expansion might mean for employment.
North America represents nearly 26 percent of Hankook's annual sales, or roughly $1.4 billion last year.