Yokohama opens USA tyre R&D centre

An opening ceremony has been held for Yokohama Tire Corporation’s new tyre research and development facility in the USA. Local officials joined Yokohama executives for the ribbon-cutting festivities at the 25,000 square foot (2,323 square metre) Yokohama Development Center America (YDCA) in Cornelius, North Carolina. The facility replaces the temporary research and development office that Yokohama has utilised since 2016.

“In 1969 – almost 50 years ago – Yokohama entered the US market and since then our name has been associated with quality, technology and innovation,” said Shinichi Takimoto, president and chief executive officer of Yokohama Tire Corporation of North America (YCNA), and chairman and chief executive officer of Yokohama Tire Corporation. “This will continue with YDCA, which represents another major milestone for Yokohama in the US.”

“The opening of YDCA is another example of our continued investment in North America,” said Tetsuya Kuze, executive vice president of YCNA. “We are committed to developing new products for this market across multiple segments.”

The Cornelius facility will consolidate separate research and development operations currently active at a number of sites throughout the country and will be led by Shoichiro (Sho) Matsuda, YCNA vice-president of corporate technical. “Our primary focus here will be tyre development,” said Matsuda. “We will also support other technical groups such as quality assurance and technical services.” Thomas Kenny, director of consumer tyre development, Dan Steltmann, director of commercial tyre development, and Jeremy Kahrs, director of technical service, will all be based in the new facility.

Kuze said the US Development Center is Yokohama’s largest overseas R&D centre in terms of both function and number of employees. “Consolidating our R&D activities will strengthen our R&D structure and further accelerate our ability to deliver new products that meet the demands of the market. Cornelius is a great fit for our company. The proximity to the airport and the skilled workforce is going to make this facility very successful.”

“Yokohama’s expansion in Cornelius is a great win for our community,” said Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam. “This is an excellent example of how the town has worked to add additional tax base and high-quality jobs.”

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