Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. has announced plans for a significant upgrade to its tire manufacturing plant in Tonawanda over the next three years to increase market share.
The company said the investment will cost $87 million with the goal to produce 10,000 tires per day — up from the current output of 5,000 tires per day at the factory.
“With this move, we will enhance our ability to produce tires locally for the North American market, focusing especially on expanding local production of SUV tires, which are in particularly high demand in North America. By increasing our proportion of locally produced tires and cutting sales lead times, we aim to expand our overall tire sales in North America,” the company said in a news release.
Sumitomo did not address potential changes in employment, which totaled about 1,200 at the end of 2015. It did say though that it has already begun the partial transfer of tire production for the North American market from a plant in Thailand to its operation the United States.
Last October, Sumitomo ended an alliance with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. “Thus, having considered various measures to enhance our productivity and expand sales in the region,” the company said.