US – The $450m facility covers 80,000sq.m on 530,000sq.m of land in Georgia and has a launch capacity of 4m tyres per year, with the potential to increase to 10m in future. Construction began in May 2008 but was suspended during the global downturn; it resumed in 2014.
Kumho says the plant is “equipped with a cutting-edge automated production system to ensure optimum quality and manufacturing efficiency”. The combination of RFID tracking plus laser-guided and unmanned plant vehicles will enable the automated transportation of products and real-time manufacturing control, following a ‘first in, first out’ principle.
The plant will focus on manufacturing passenger car, ultra-high performance and light commercial vehicle tyres, including run-flat products, in sizes of 17 inches and above. Kumho expects Macon to send 80% of its output for OE fitment, with companies such as BMW, General Motors, Hyundai and Volkswagen all within 200 miles of the factory.
“North America consumes 22% of global tyre production, making it the largest market for such products in the world,” said Sam-gu Park, chairman of the Kumho Asiana Group. “A manufacturing base on this continent is a must if we are to succeed in our bid to become a top tyre manufacturer.”
Macon is Kumho’s sixth plant outside South Korea and its first in the US; the others are located in China and Vietnam. Kumho said that a proportion of its output will be exported to Europe and that the factory will strengthen its position in the aftermarket.