Hankook Tire Co., the world's seventh-largest tire maker by sales, said Monday it will invest US$800 million to build its first plant in the United States to meet growing demand in the world's largest tire market.
The South Korean tire maker said it plans to break ground for its state-of-the-art plant in the U.S state of Tennessee by the end of this year, which is set to have an annual production capacity of 11 million tires.
The company said it will make an official announcement at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Tennessee at 11 a.m. (local time) on Monday, with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam in attendance along with more than 100 local and state officials and media representatives.
Suh Seung-hwa, the vice chairman and CEO of Hankook Tire, said the plant will further strengthen his company's global production portfolio. Currently, the company produces about 94 million tires at its plants in South Korea, China, Indonesia and Hungary.
"With this newest manufacturing facility in place, we will be able to supply the highest quality tire products that meet fast growing demands from consumers and automakers in the United States," according to a text of Suh's prepared remarks for the ceremony.
The company said Tennessee is considered to be an ideal location for its plant, citing an extensive transportation network, including rail, plane and interstate highway network as well as regional access to the Mississippi River inland waterway.
The move came a month after Kumho Tire Co., South Korea's second-biggest tire maker, announced its plan to complete construction of its suspended plant in the U.S. state of Georgia.
Kumho Tire broke ground for its first plant in Georgia in 2009, but the project has since been stalled as creditors placed the company under a debt workout scheme to help its parent group ease a liquidity squeeze. Still, Kumho Tire did not give a specific time frame as to when it will resume construction of the plant.