Kumho has opened a new production facility with an annual capacity of 4m tyres in Macon, Georgia, following its original mothballing in 2008, due to the global financial crisis.

With a US$450m cash injection, the plant stands on an area of 5,704,872 square feet, while Kumho says it will grow production incrementally to 10m tyres.

The Georgia factory is equipped with a proprietary system known as Automated Production Unit (APU), which the supplier maintains will help boost product quality and manufacturing efficiency.

In addition, a new lot tracking system (LTS) using radio frequency identification (RFID) combined with laser guided vehicles (LGVs), unmanned carriers which move along pre-determined routes, ensures a fully-automated movement of products, which allows for real-time production control on a first-in, first-out basis.

“North America is home to one of the world’s largest auto and tyre markets,” said Kumho Asiana Group chairman, Park Sam-gu. “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 tyre manufacturer.”

“Along with this facility, Kumho will put into place an advanced management system for day-to-day operations so all employees can be proud of their company. Kumho Tire will also strive to make the best plant the pride of the entire community.”

The new facility, Kumho’s third overseas production base after the sites in China and Vietnam, will mainly manufacture 17-inch tyres or larger versions for passenger cars and ultra-high performance (UHP) variants, 80% of which are expected to be sold as original equipment to global automakers in North America including Hyundai, Kia and Chrysler.

The new plant is located close to Hyundai’s plant in Alabama, (184 miles) and Kia’s factory in Georgia, (110 miles).