Yokohama US opens tire research and development center

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The new Yokohama Development Center America (YDCA) in Cornelius, North Carolina, has been inaugurated, with local officials joining Yokohama executives for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The high-tech, 25,000ft² (7,620m²) building in Mecklenburg County replaces the temporary R&D office the team had previously been working out of in Concord since 2016.

“In 1969 – almost 50 years ago – Yokohama entered the US market and since then the name has been associated with quality, technology and innovation,” said Shinichi Takimoto, president and CEO of Yokohama Tire Corporation of North America (YCNA), and chairman and CEO of YTC. “This will continue with YDCA, which represents another major milestone for Yokohama in the USA.”

Tetsuya Kuze, executive VP of YCNA, said, “The opening of YDCA is another example of our continued investment in North America. We are committed to developing new products for this market across multiple segments.”

The Cornelius facility will bring together R&D staff currently based at a number of locations throughout the USA and will be headed up by Shoichiro (Sho) Matsuda, YCNA VP of corporate technical. “Our primary focus here will be tire development. We will also support other technical groups such as quality assurance and technical services,” said Matsuda.

Thomas Kenny, director of consumer tire development, Dan Steltmann, director of commercial tire development, and Jeremy Kahrs, director of technical service, will all be based out of the company’s new location.

The facility is Yokohama’s largest overseas R&D center in terms of both its functions and number of employees. Kuze commented, “Consolidating our R&D activities will strengthen our R&D structure and further accelerate our ability to deliver new products that meet the demands of the market. Cornelius is a great fit for our company. The proximity to the airport and the skilled workforce is going to make this facility very successful.”

Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam said at the opening, “Yokohama’s expansion in Cornelius is a great win for our community. This is an excellent example of how the town has worked to add additional tax base and high-quality jobs.”

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the ground-breaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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