The American Dream: Kumho opens its first plant in the US
America – Are you ready? The creation of our impressive new tyre production facility in Macon, Georgia, USA is now complete and was officially opened this Monday, May 2. Some 300 dignitaries attended the official ceremony including: the Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal; the Mayor of Macon, Robert Reichert; the Korean Consul General of Atlanta, Seong-jin Kim; the Chairman of the Kumho Asiana Group, Sam-gu Park; and the CEO of Kumho Tire, Han-Seob Lee.
Construction of the plant began in May 2008, but was temporarily suspended as a result of the global financial crisis, before being resumed in 2014. All in, we have invested around $450 million dollars in the 80,000 square metre facility, which stands on a site of no less than 530,000 square metres. The initial annual production capacity will be four million tyres, with the option of increasing output to 10 million over time.
The plant is equipped with a cutting edge automated production system to ensure optimum quality and manufacturing efficiency. An advanced tracking system with RFID technology, plus laser-guided and unmanned plant vehicles will allow the fully automated movement of products and real-time production control in accordance with the ‘first-in first-out’ principle.
“North America consumes 22 percent of global tyre production, making it the largest market for such products in the world. A manufacturing base on this continent is a must if we are to succeed in our bid to become a top tyre manufacturer.” Sam-gu Park.
The Macon facility is Kumho’s sixth production base outside of its native South Korea – the others being in China and Vietnam. It will primarily concentrate on the manufacture of regular passenger car, UHP and light commercial vehicle tyres (including run-flat products) in sizes of 17 inches and above. Eighty percent of the production will be for OE fitment, there being manufacturing facilities for such leading car brands as BMW, Daimler, GM, Hyundai and Volkswagen within a 200 mile radius of Macon County. A percentage of the vehicles equipped by tyres from the new Kumho factory will be exported to Europe – the new plant will also allow us to strengthen its position in the replacement tyre market.