Goodyear ‘starting up’ at Pulandian, China plant
During Goodyear Tire & Rubber’s March 22 investor day, Asia Pacific president Pierre Cohade reported that the company’s newest plant in China, its Pulandian facility, has commenced production. Speaking on the plant that in a couple of years will completely replace Goodyear’s existing Dalian factory, where maximum possible production capacity has already been reached, Cohade confirmed “the factory is just starting up, we made the first tyre last month.”
Goodyear states that US$700 million has been invested in the Pulandian factory and relocation project – admittedly $200 million more than the initial figure announced in 2008, however the tyre maker points out this involves expanding consumer tyre capacity beyond its original scope. The current investment supports growth in China through to 2015, Goodyear adds. Management from Dalian transferred to the 778,500 square metre Pulandian facility in July 2010 to be on site during the final construction work and equipment installation, and the first 104 workers – including 70 that transferred from Dalian – arrived at the new plant on November 17, 2010 and set about getting ready for the start of production in February 2011.
Cohade outlined the Pulandian plant’s output: “It will eventually ramp up to a capacity of ten million tyres, consumer tyres. It will also enable us to start participating in the so profitable commercial segment in China by providing us tyres for buses and trucks, about a million tyres per year.” This entry into manufacturing for China’s commercial vehicle market is an important step for Goodyear; the tyre maker estimates the radial commercial tyre sector there will grow 13 per cent each year through to 2010. All in all, Goodyear anticipates growing its tyre production from six million units (all consumer tyres) in 2010 to 8.2 million in 2013 and 11.6 million in 2015; commercial vehicle tyres will account for a growing minority of these last two figures.
“China is a country of double-digit growth,” Cohade continued. “Double-digit in the consumer segment, double-digit in the commercial segment, in both OE as well as replacement. And this industry growth, combined with our forthcoming participation in the commercial segment, combined with the momentum that we have built, is resulting in Goodyear’s business in China – currently about $300 million in 2010 – doubling by 2013 and more beyond. We have the product, we have the brand, we have the team, we have the distribution network. Goodyear is going to continue to win in China.”