Kumho Tire announced on May 3 that it held the production plant's completion ceremony in Macon, Georgia. Accordingly, the company now has an annual production capacity of 4 million tires, seeking to expand its presence in North America.
Kumho Asiana Group Chairman Park Sam-gu said, “North America is home to one of the world's largest auto and tire markets. We believed a production base on this crucial continent is a must if we are to significantly expand our presence in the market in our bid to become a top tire manufacturer. Kumho will make it the best tire production plant with the advanced management system as well as the most advanced manufacturing facility.”
Kumho started building the Georgia plant in May 2008, but suspended construction later that same year due to the fallout from the global financial crisis. Construction resumed in 2014 and the plant began mass production from earlier this year. The company spent US$450 million (513.09 billion won) on the plant, which stands on an area of 530,000 square meters and has a gross floor area of 80,000 square meters. Kumho plans to raise annual production to 10 million stage by stage in the future.
Considering the fact that the plant is located only 296 kilometers from Hyundai Motor's plant in Alabama and 177 kilometers from Kia Motors' plant in Georgia and global automakers have established a cluster in the southern part of the U.S. to where Georgia State belongs, Kumho Tire is now better positioned to secure stable sales of tires. The Georgia plant mainly produces 17-inch or larger tires and ultra-high performance tires, mostly for passenger cars. More than 80 percent of tires from the plant are expected to be sold as original equipment to global automakers in North America, including Hyundai, Kia and Chrysler. North America is the world's largest tire market that consumes 22 percent of all tires produced globally.
The factory is equipped with Kumho Tire’s cutting-edge proprietary system dubbed Automated Production Unit, which the company claims will help boost product quality and manufacturing efficiency. In addition, a new lot tracking system using radio frequency identification, combined with laser guided vehicles — unmanned carriers that move along pre-determined routes — ensure a fully-automated movement of products, allowing for real-time production control on a strict first-in-first-out basis, Kumho said. The Georgia plant is Kumho Tire's third overseas production base after China and Vietnam.
With the Georgia plant, Kumho Tire now has the efficient system from R&D in Kumho America Technical Center opened in Akron, Ohio, in 1990, production at the Georgia plant, and its Atlanta-based Kumho Tire USA Inc. offering sales to customer services.