When Goodyear Tire & Rubber announced plans last month to close its Philippsburg tyre plant in Germany, the company gave increasing demand for larger rim diameter tyre sizes – and a lack of infrastructure for producing these in Philippsburg – as a justification for the decision. Rather than invest in new equipment for the factory, Goodyear has decided to increase capacity for larger tyre sizes elsewhere in the world. Today, the tyre maker announced it has broken ground on a US$485 million expansion of its facility in China’s Pulandian district. Goodyear chairman, chief executive officer and president Richard J. Kramer took part in a ceremony with Lu Lin, deputy mayor of the city of Dalian.
When completed in 2020, the expansion will increase the plant’s capacity by about five million tyres a year, enabling Goodyear to meet, as the company writes in a statement, the “strong and growing market demand for premium, large-rim-diameter consumer tyres in China and the Asia Pacific region.” By 2020, Goodyear expects tyres with rim diameters of 17 inches or greater to account for nearly 60 per cent of its replacement tyre sales volume in China.
“This investment in our Pulandian factory speaks to our long-term strategy of pursuing sustainable growth in the Asia Pacific region and increasing Goodyear’s presence in high-value segments of the global tyre market that are growing at rates above the total industry where we can capture the value of our brand,” Kramer said. “The city of Dalian has been supportive of our developments here, and we look forward to continuing this fruitful partnership.”
“Goodyear’s latest investment in Pulandian strengthens our presence in China. As one of our most important and key growth markets, our global brand and innovative product portfolio in China will gives us a competitive edge,” added Chris Delaney, Goodyear’s president, Asia Pacific.
Goodyear was the first global tyre manufacturer to enter China when it invested in a manufacturing plant in Dalian in 1994. The company moved production to the new Pulandian factory in 2012 and opened its new China Development Center, with which aims to increase the speed and efficiency of developing tyres for China-based auto manufacturers, on the Pulandian campus last year.