FINDLAY, OH — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. announced today that it plans to begin production of racing tires at its Athens, Ga., manufacturing facility. The facility currently produces retread materials.
The company said it will invest $11 million into the project during the next two years. Conversion to motorsports tires should begin immediately with developmental tire production beginning in early 2005.
Initial production will include the Avon Tech R, a DOT street-legal radial manufactured by Cooper exclusively for The Tire Rack, and the Mickey Thompson DOT ET street radial sold through the Mickey Thompson operation. The plant will be configured to manufacture other racing products as needed to support the company’s overall motorsports strategy.
To support the conversion, nearly 30 jobs will be added at the facility including engineering, technical and compounding specialists as well as manufacturing positions.
The company said production at the Athens facility will be supported with assistance from its technical centers in Findlay, Ohio, and Melksham, U.K., and the tire and vehicle test center in Pearsall, Texas. Racing tire expertise also will be provided by Cooper-Avon’s European racing team and Mickey Thompson’s staff based in the U.S.
Cooper Tire acquired the Athens facility in 1999 as a part of the Standard Products purchase which included Oliver Rubber. Recently, Cooper announced the consolidation of pre-cure retread manufacturing from Athens to the Asheboro, NC, facility, in an ongoing effort to maximize use of all company assets. The company said this will create the space needed for conversion to racing tires and other products as needed.
For more information, go to: www.coopertireandrubber.com.
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