Sumitomo investing to produce truck tyres in South Africa

Just over two years ago, Sumitomo Rubber Industries acquired Apollo Tyres South Africa, and with it the operation’s car tyre factory in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal. While the plant supplies the local market with passenger car and light truck tyres and can currently produce up to 10,000 pieces per day, the 2013-signed deal saw Apollo Tyres retain its TBR plant in Durban, compelling Sumitomo Rubber South Africa to meet all demand for truck and bus tyres with imported products. This will soon change; the company has announced it will invest 910 million rand (£41.3 million) to install new production equipment within the Ladysmith facility, and it aims to produce truck and bus tyres there from July 2018.

“In recent years, demand for tyres in African markets has been steadily increasing in tandem with rapid economic growth, and we anticipate even further growth in the near future,” writes Sumitomo Rubber Industries in a statement. “Until now, our South Africa Factory has produced tyres solely for passenger cars and light trucks. In 2014, we announced a 1.1 billion rand investment plan with the aim of enhancing the factory’s production capacity and product quality, especially with regard to high-performance tyres. Now, we are preparing to make an additional 910 million rand investment in the installation of production equipment for truck and bus tyres.”

According to Sumitomo Rubber Industries, the investment in TBR production will “ensure a steady supply of locally-produced tyres for local markets.” This will enable the company to “strengthen our tyre sales business in Africa” and “simultaneously accelerate the pace of the global growth and development of the Sumitomo Rubber Group.”

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