Goodyear Dunlop and the Dunlop tire plant in Tonawanda will see a name change. The plant will now be known as Sumitomo.
Goodyear Dunlop Tire North America, Ltd, was a joint venture company formed in 1999 by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and SRI. In 2015, both companies announced an agreement to dissolve their joint venture relationship. The dissolution was finalized on October 1, 2015, when Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) assumed full ownership of GDTNA.
At the time of the October 2015 announcement, SRI Chief Executive Officer and President, Ikuji Ikeda, stated that “the dissolution of the joint venture would enable SRI to strengthen its competiveness in North America by expanding its OE tire business for Japanese OE auto makers and its motorcycle business. SRI also is now able to operate its own manufacturing and R&D sites in the region, to better support the North American tire market. SRI expects that the newly reacquired tire factory in Tonawanda, NY will be utilized for future business expansion across North America.”
In 2016, the factory will begin development and production of Falken® branded tires for passenger and light truck vehicles, as well as truck and bus tires for the North American market. SRUSA Chairman and CEO, Kenji Onga, called this name change an important next step for SRI, supporting the SRUSA vision: “We shall become the most reliable and respected tire manufacturer in the USA for all stakeholders.” SRUSA Sr. VP of Manufacturing, Tim Noe, has worked at the factory since 1978. Mr. Noe stated: “This tire factory has manufactured the very best tire products in the industry for 93 years. This longevity is a tribute to our people, our processes, our products, our plant, and community support. Tire manufacturing is a high tech industry, and now being the newest member of the SRI global tire manufacturing family, provides us all with the opportunity to remain an important and viable member of the Western New York community for many more years to come.” Sr. VP of Motorcycle Sales and Marketing, Mike Buckley, said: “The Dunlop® factory in Tonawanda, NY continues to be the only manufacturing facility in the US making motorcycle tires – no other brand of motorcycle tires are manufactured in the US. SRI’s continued commitment to the factory and to the North American Dunlop motorcycle tire business is a great testament to how strong the Dunlop brand is for North American riders.”
The Dunlop Motorcycle sales and marketing staff based in the Tonawanda facility will be employees of Sumitomo Rubber North America (SRNA), which is headquartered out of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, where SRI’s North America Falken brand sales and marketing staff is located.