The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. is to establish a tyre research & development centre in North Carolina, with R&D activities scheduled to start this September initially in the greater Charlotte area. The company presently conducts R&D on tyres for the North American market in several US states and in Japan, but aims to consolidate the majority of these R&D activities at the new centre. With the consolidation, Yokohama also plans to double the current size of its North American R&D staff.
The new centre will initially engage in the design of new tyres for passenger cars and other consumer applications, but will gradually expand its activities to include testing and evaluation, design of tyres for industrial and construction machinery, technical services and quality assurance. The North Carolina location was selected on the basis of its ability to attract high-quality staff and its close proximity to a hub airport. Yokohama Rubber will consider additional investment in its facilities in line with the expansion of the breadth of its activities.
Yokohama Rubber’s North American operations currently include the sale of tyres for passenger cars, trucks and buses, and industrial and construction machinery, with tyre manufacturing facilities in Virginia and Mississippi and its corporate headquarters in California. During Phase IV (2015–2017) of its Grand Design 100 (GD100) medium-term management plan, Yokohama Rubber is placing even greater importance on the huge North American market and plans to strengthen local sales of original equipment tyres and replacement tyres. Consolidation of its R&D function in North America is an important part of that management strategy.
Yokohama Rubber established its Nürburgring Test Center in Germany in 2006, its Tyre Test Center of Asia in Thailand in April 2009, and the Yokohama China Technical Center in China in January 2012. The new tyre R&D center in the United States will become the Company’s largest overseas R&D center in terms of both functions and number of employees.