Global tire maker Hankook Tire announced that its board of directors approved a $1.6 billion investment to expand its Tennessee Plant, located in Clarksville. The investment includes the previously planned Phase 2 expansion that will double production capacity of Hankook’s passenger car and light truck (PC/LT) tires, and adds a Phase 3 expansion with the company’s first U.S. production of Truck Bus and Radial (TBR) tires. The addition of the Phase 3 expansion project will bring 400 more jobs to the Clarksville area, for a total of 1,200 new jobs overall.
Hankook will double U.S. PC/LT production to 11 million units and enable production of 1 million TBR tires annually. The company says the expansion also brings Hankook’s total investment in the area to $2.2 billion and will enable the company to further provide tire dealers and consumers with tires and services to meet the demands of the American market, while supporting existing and future Original Equipment (OE) partners.
“The investment in our Tennessee Plant further demonstrates Hankook’s growing presence in the U.S. and commitment to serving our customers,” said Sooil Lee, CEO of Hankook Tire & Technology and president of Hankook Tire America Corp. “Through a focus on sustainable construction and innovative manufacturing, the new phase of our Tennessee Plant will provide an effective local-to-local supply chain to more effectively fulfill customer demand. Additionally, we are extremely proud to continue to support the local economy by bringing 1,200 new jobs to the Clarksville area.”
Since Hankook’s state-of-the-art Tennessee Plant opened in October 2017, Hankook has produced 5.5 million tires annually for the North American market and generated 950 jobs. The North American market accounted for more than 28% of total Hankook Tire sales in 2021.
“This production expansion is a vital step to our growth in the Medium Truck market, making Hankook one of only a few manufacturers producing TBR products in the U.S.,” said Rob Williams, senior vice president, North America Sales, Hankook Tire America Corp. “As a result, we can better meet the needs of both our growing dealer base and the fleets that serve the North American shipping lanes.”
Hankook is expected to break ground on the new plant in early 2023, subject to definitive agreements, regulatory approvals and other conditions. Tire production at the new phases of the plant will begin by Q4 2024, and reach full capacity by early 2026.