Kumho Tire (CEO: Lee Han-Seob) has opened a new production facility with an annual capacity of four million tires in the United States, which will likely serve as a foundation to enhance its market share in North America.
The tire-maker said that it held the completion ceremony for the plant on Monday (local time) in Macon, Georgia. Some 300 people were on hand including governor Nathan Deal of Georgia, mayor Robert Reichert of Macon, Korean consul general in Atlanta Kim Seong-jin, Chairman Park Sam-gu of Kumho Asiana Group and CEO Lee Han-Seob of Kumho Tire.
Started in May 2008, the construction of the Georgia plant was suspended due to the fallout from the global financial crisis before being resumed in 2014 and completed earlier this year, making the plant ready for mass production. Built with a total budget of $ 450 million, the plant stands on an area of 530,000m² and has a gross floor area of 80,000m². It boasts an annual production capacity of four million tires, which Kumho plans to raise incrementally to ten million.
The Georgia plant is equipped with a cutting-edge proprietary system dubbed Automated Production Unit (APU) that will help boost product quality and manufacturing efficiency. In addition, a new lot tracking system (LTS) using radio frequency identification (RFID) combined with laser guided vehicles (LGVs), unmanned carriers that move along pre-determined routes, ensures a fully-automated movement of products, which allows for real-time production control on a strict first-in-first-out basis.
“North America is home to one of the world’s largest auto and tire markets. We believed a production base on this crucial continent is a must if we are to significantly expand our presence in the market in our bid to become a top tire manufacturer.” said Park Sam-gu, Chairman of Kumho Asiana Group, at the completion ceremony, “Along with this state-of-the-art facility, Kumho will put into place an advanced management system for day-to-day operations so that all employees can be proud of their company. Kumho Tire will also strive to make the best plant the pride of the entire community.”
The new facility, Kumho’s third overseas production base after the ones in China in Vietnam, will mainly manufacture 17-inch tires or larger tires for passenger cars and ultra-high performance (UHP) tires, 80% of which are expected to be sold as original equipment (OE) tires to global automakers in North America including Hyundai, Kia and Chrysler.
Being aware that North America is the world’s largest tire market consuming 22% of all tires produced globally, Kumho desires to get ahead in the region’s OE market in order to grow further and become a force to be reckoned with in the global market. Given the new plant is located close to Hyundai’s plant in Alabama (296km) and Kia’s plant in Georgia (177km) and that US southern states are home to manufacturing facilities of global automakers, Kumho is now better positioned to secure stable sales of OE tires and potential sales of replacement tires.
A combination of research by the Kumho America Technical Center (KATC) launched in Akron, Ohio in 1990, production in the new plant and sales and customer service by its US subsidiary, which was relocated from Los Angeles to Atlanta last year, will allow Kumho to ensure focus and consistency in its operations so that it can increase work efficiency and provide its customers with better products and services.
Kumho entered the US market in 1975 and has been an official sponsor of the National Basketball Association since 2014, when it signed a deal with the NBA, the first ever for a global tire-maker. It has been successful in its drive to promote its brand recognition in the US by leveraging social media and conducting a variety of promotional events.
Source: Kumho Tire