Week of June 21, 2004
from Site Selection's exclusive New Plant database
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Japan's Toyo Rolling intoBy JACK LYNE, Site Selection Executive Editor of Interactive Publishing
Georgia with 900-Job Tire Plant
WHITE, Ga. Japan's Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. (www.toyo.com) will be laying some major rubber in Georgia with its first U.S. plant.
Toyo plans to employ as many as 900 workers at the tire-manufacturing operation, which will be built on a 150-acre (60-hectare) tract near White, Ga. A small town of some 700 residents, White sits some 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta. The company is projecting that it will spend about $392 million on the project, first building the facility, then expanding it in two subsequent phases.
The Southeast defined Toyo's first-stage parameters for its maiden American search.
"We looked at several sites in the Southeastern U.S., but Bartow [County] presented the best solution for us," Toyo President and CEO Yoshio Kataoka explained at the project announcement in White.
Five states were reportedly considered (although Toyo officials didn't specify any of the competing sites). Prattville, Ala., was a major short-list contender, according to officials with the Cartersville-Bartow County Joint Development Authority (JDA www.cartersvillechamber.com).
Japanese Facilities at Full Capacity"We are extremely pleased to be able to serve our North American customers from our new manufacturing base in Bartow County," said Kataoka.
Better serving the North American market was the project's raison d'etre. Toyo's highly rated tires are experiencing a strong demand surge. And North America is the source of most of that robust spike.
Scrambling to up production, the company has already increased capacity at its existing plants in Japan. That, though, hasn't been enough to do the trick. And Toyo's Japanese tire-manufacturing facilities are limited in their ability to accommodate any further capacity increases.
When the Georgia plant goes online, though, Toyo's supply problems will fade, company officials said. Located just outside White, the Bartow County facility at full capacity will make about two million tires a year for passenger cars and light trucks.
In addition, establishing a U.S. plant hedges the company's risks against currency fluctuations, Toyo officials added. Currently, some 80 percent of the company's revenues come from Japan.
Perdue Phones HomeGeorgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) was present at the project announcement - at least in a fashion that mirrored the deal's cross-border bent.
Perdue was in Honduras at the time, serving as part of an advocacy mission for the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which is being negotiated among34 Western Hemisphere nations. Consequently, the governor spoke at the announcement through a conference call.
"We are honored and delighted that Toyo Tires has chosen Bartow County as the site of their first consumer tire production plant in the United States," said Perdue. The governor, along with three Bartow County officials, visited Toyo Tires' executives at the company's Osaka headquarters during the Georgians' business recruitment trip to Japan in October of 2003.
"Every company that does business in Georgia is a customer of our state," Perdue added, "and we want to do all that we can to help their business grow and succeed."
Georgia's $8 million in subsidies is helping its newest major corporate customer grow. Toyo's state and local incentives include a five-year property tax abatement, a job-training package and $1,750 in state tax credits for each of the direct jobs that the company creates in Bartow County. Most of the subsidies that the Cartersville-Bartow County JDA is providing will be reimbursed through grants and bonds, state officials said.
Toyo's Georgia plant in its first 10 years of operations will create $8.2 million in added city and county revenues, according to the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism (GDITT at http://gditt.georgia.gov/01/home/0,2197,668180,00.html, which will adopt its new name, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, on July 1).
As part of the project, the company has created a new subsidiary, Toyo Tire North America (TNA). TNA will be based in White and will own and operate the plant, which will be four miles (6.4 kilometers) east of I-75.
Toyo Could Become Bartow
County's Second-Largest Employer The Bartow County plant's first phase will involve hiring 350 workers. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall, with production going online in 2006.
Toyo is projecting that the second phase will involve a $127-million investment, creating another 300 jobs. Phase three would entail a capital expenditure of $119 million, adding 250 jobs. The company hasn't laid out a timetable for the two expansions.
It the plant completes its full projected expansion, Toyo will likely become Bartow County's second-largest employer. The largest is Dalton, Ga.-based carpet-maker Shaw Industries, which has 1,887 workers in Cartersville. Bartow County's other major employers include Anheuser-Busch, which has a Cartersville brewery with 706 employees.
Toyo's major job-generating project, however, faced opposition from 13 residents, who opposed the plant's impact on their rural area. Organized as Residents against Spot Zoning, the group filed suit contesting the re-zoning of 300 acres (120 hectares) in unincorporated Bartow County.
The landowners dropped the suit after being notified by letter that the Joint Cartersville-Bartow County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) was considering a countersuit. The IDA's letter indicated that it would file a Strategic Litigation against Public Participation suit.
Toyo says that it will produce tires in Georgia under both the Toyo and Nitto brands. The company's tires have won the Consumer Tires Major Brands category for three consecutive years in surveys conducted by Tire Review, an Akron, Ohio-based trade magazine.
Toyo had $2.4 billion in revenues last year. The company currently employs some 6,300 workers. In addition to tires, Toyo has other divisions that are focused on chemical and industrial products, and automotive parts such as airbags, anti-vibration rubber and seat cushions.
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