The first stones have been laid at Nokian Tyres’ new testing and technology center in Santa Cruz de la Zarza, Spain. The first test tracks are scheduled to be complete next year with the technology center expected to be fully operational in 2020.
“We have been planning the new center for a long time in cooperation with the local authorities and other partners. Now is the time to take the next step and start construction of this facility, which will offer versatile opportunities for accelerating product development and growing our product range,” said Hille Korhonen, president and CEO of Nokian Tyres at the recent groundbreaking ceremony.
The vast 300ha testing area will have more than 10 different tracks, which will be used for durability and performance analysis. Circling the facility will be a 7km (4.35 mile) oval track for testing tires at speeds of up to 300km/h (186mph). Furthermore, the tracks will be suitable for type approval testing including wet grip and noise tests.
Pontus Stenberg, VP of the products and technologies unit at the tire maker, said, “The modern, versatile test tracks at the new technology center will be tailored for the demanding development work that goes into every Nokian Tyres product. The hot Spanish conditions provide us with the ideal setting for testing our tires all year long.”
There will also be a focus at the new facility on sustainable product development and innovation. In 2017, Nokian Tyres became involved in a research project studying the utilization of the guayule plant for more environmentally friendly tire manufacturing.
The technology center will have a positive impact on the vitality and employment in the region. During the construction around 200 people will be employed and up to 40 new positions will be created once the facility is complete. Additionally, it will have a significant indirect effect on the employment of the transport, services and logistics industries.
Emiliano Garcia-Page, president of Castile-La Mancha, added, “Nokian Tyres investing in Castile-La Mancha [region of Spain]is an important project for us too, creating new jobs and growth opportunities for the region. We believe it will have a positive impact on local business here in the heart of Spain.”