Toyo Tire is expanding its European presence with the opening of a new R&D center in Willich, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. In addition, it has made plans to build a factory in Serbia.
Europe is home to a large number of top auto manufacturers and automotive-related companies, and as such, is an ideal location for the Japanese OEM to expand.
The 2,500m² technical center is scheduled to begin operations this fall and will work in collaboration with the company’s other R&D facilities in the USA, Japan and Europe respectively. As of 2022, it will be home to 10 employees, including three team members assigned from Japan. The main facilities will be materials testing and chemical analysis equipment.
Toyo Tire plans to deepen its technical expertise in tire compounding, production methods, evaluation and simulation technologies.
Meanwhile, the company has established a subsidiary in the Republic of Serbia to construct a new €390.5m (US$474.3m) radial passenger and light truck tire manufacturing plant in Indijia City.
Construction of the 600,000m² plant in Serbia will begin in May 2020. Manufacturing operations are scheduled to go online in January 2022, with a capacity of five million tires annually by the summer of 2023. About 500 people will be based there.
Currently Toyo Tire is supplying tires for the European and Russian market from factories in Japan and Malaysia. The new manufacturing base in Serbia will take on this key role.
The smart factory will be fully equipped with IoT technology and will be designed to enable high-quality manufacturing at low cost.
According to the tire maker, the Republic of Serbia has an outstanding resource of highly skilled workers but comparatively low wage, many automotive companies due to ongoing investment in the region by foreign companies, and a blossoming relationship with Japan. Thus, Europe has become a particularly attractive business environment for the company.
The OEM has already begun to assess further future expansion options in Europe.