DAYTON, Tenn.—Nokian Tires and Continental A.G. are making progress and are on schedule for new manufacturing facilities in North America, increasing capacity and incorporating new technology.
Both companies are aiming for 2020 commercial production deadlines for their facilities, which are both located in the southern U.S., with Nokian in Dayton and Continental in Clinton, Miss.
Nokian's new site, about 45 minutes away from Knoxville, Tenn., covers 830,000 square feet and will serve customers across the U.S. and Canada, producing car and light truck tires specific to North America, according to the company.
A ramp-up phase will lead up to the site's start of commercial production, and exteriors and the production building are near complete, said Wes Boling, marketing communication manager for Nokian. Equipment installation is proceeding on schedule and hiring has begun.
Nokian is investing $360 million into the facility, which will be the company's first production plant in the U.S., Boling said. The company has two others globally: its flagship location in Nokia, Finland, and a large plant in Vsevolozhsk, Russia, near St. Petersburg. Developing a North American footprint is a step in line with the company's growth strategy.
"The large scale goal we reference all the time is trying to double sales in North America by 2023," Boling said. "To be able to build the plant here is obviously going to increase our inventory, enable us to tailor products to this market and serve our customers more effectively."
It also allows the company to expand its offseason presence in regions of North America where the company hasn't historically been as strong, he said.
"To see the plant coming on board is seeing those goals come to fruition. It's a tangible embodiment of what we've been talking about for so long and what so many people have been working toward," Boling said. "It continues to give us powerful optimism about the strategy we put in place."
The Dayton facility will run with a capacity of 4 million tires each year, and the capability to store an additional 600,000 tires onsite, the company said. Expanded inventory in the U.S. frees up inventory elsewhere globally, which means greater production capacity for the Nordic, Central Europe and Russian markets.