RAYONG, Thailand—China's Zhongce Rubber Group (ZC Rubber) has broken ground on an additional expansion of capacity at its manufacturing complex in Rayong, as part of an ongoing investment program at the site.
The new project will complete the third phase of the firm's expansion project at the Thai site, which started in December 2019, as well as the manufacturer's $800 million overall investment in Thailand, ZC Rubber announced.
The expansion—comprising a separate factory structure spanning more than 609,000 square feet of floor area—will complete the tire makers' Phase III initiative to add annual capacity of 5 million passenger car tires and 1.2 million truck/bus tires, ZC Rubber said.
The company hopes to finish the construction of the plant in 100 days, according to Zhongce Rubber (Thailand)'s general manager Chen Hua.
At the same time, ZC Rubber said it held a groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 12 on a Phase III expansion of its car, truck and industrial tire plant in Rayong, Thailand. The company did not disclose specifics of the expansion, other than to say the groundbreaking took place at the plant's "all-steel tire workshop."
The project will expand the company's total annual tire capacity in Thailand to 20 million radial passenger car, radial truck/bus and bias industrial, motorcycle and "engineering" truck tires.
Production at the Rayong site began in June 2015 and capacity for bias motorcycle and industrial tires was added in 2017. The site produced its first all-terrain vehicle tire in October 2020.
ZC Rubber is represented in the U.S. by ZC Rubber Americas Inc. in Norwalk, Calif. That company, which concentrates on the firm's Arisun premium truck radial brand, has assigned rights to Westlake-brand car and light truck tires to Tireco Inc. and Westlake-brand truck tires to Tyres International Inc.
ZC Rubber Chairman Shen Jinrong told a Chinese dealers conference earlier that year that the company is evaluating its option for a second overseas plant, and that North America is among the areas under consideration for that expansion.