Groundbreaking held for Yokohama’s US plant
On 23 September, a total of 350 guests joined executives from Yokohama Tire Corporation, including Yokohama Rubber representative director Hikomitsu Noji, and state and local officials in West Point, Mississippi to break ground on Yokohama’s first greenfield manufacturing facility in the United States. During the official groundbreaking ceremony, the first sod was turned on a plant that is scheduled to enter production in October 2015 and manufacture up to one million tyres a year, mostly for the domestic market.
“This is a great day for Yokohama, Mississippi and the community of West Point,” said Tadaharu Yamamoto, president of Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi. “As we move forward with construction of our new tyre-making facility, I’d like to personally thank (Mississippi) Governor Bryant, his staff and all the people in Mississippi for their support on this incredible endeavour. There’s no question we made the right choice coming to Mississippi with this project.”
Yokohama’s initial investment in the facility amounts to US$300 million and the company anticipates creating approximately 500 jobs during the first phase. The roughly one million square foot (92,900 square metre) factory, to be constructed on more than 500 acres (202 hectares) of land, will include production, warehousing and operations facilities. Potential future expansions are projected to increase the company’s investment to more than $1 billion and to raise employment to 2,000 jobs.
“Today is a very exciting day as Yokohama prepares to begin construction of its very first US manufacturing facility to be built from the ground up,” said Governor Bryant. “Just five short months ago, the company announced its plans to locate these operations in West Point, and I am grateful to the Yokohama team and those at the state and local levels for working so quickly to get this project underway. I look forward to visiting again in the near future as we celebrate the grand opening of Yokohama’s tyre manufacturing plant and once again prove to the world that Mississippi is a great place for business.”
The State of Mississippi offered Yokohama attractive incentives to set up shop there. In April, the Mississippi Legislature approved a total of $130 million in incentives to assist with the project, $70 million of which was allotted for the initial phase of the project. Part of the funding was used toward the purchase of the 500-acre site for the facility, and the remainder is being used for site preparation, infrastructure needs and workforce training.
In addition to formally introducing Tadaharu Yamamoto as president of Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi, during the events leading up to the West Point groundbreaking ceremony Yokohama Tire Corporation discussed its recently-opened operational headquarters in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park in Starkville, Mississippi. The company moved into its new headquarters in August and the new site houses several business functions, including administrative, human resources, information management and planning.
“We are very pleased to welcome members of the Yokohama Tire team to the Thad Cochran Research Park and Industry Partners Building, and to develop a new pipeline of communication between us,” said Marc McGee, director of the MSU Research and Technology Corporation, the entity that manages the park.