Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) officially opened its new tire research and development facility – the Yokohama Development Center America (YDCA) – in Cornelius, North Carolina. Local officials joined Yokohama executives for the ribbon-cutting festivities. The high-tech, 25,000-square-foot building in Mecklenburg County, replaces the temporary R&D office Yokohama has utilized in Concord, North Carolina, since 2016.
“In 1969 – almost 50 years ago – Yokohama entered the U.S. market and since then our name has been associated with quality, technology and innovation,” said Shinichi Takimoto, president and CEO of Yokohama Tire Corporation of North America (YCNA), and chairman and CEO of YTC. “This will continue with YDCA, which represents another major milestone for Yokohama in the U.S.”
“The opening of YDCA is another example of our continued investment in North America,” said Tetsuya Kuze, executive vice president of YCNA. “We are committed to developing new products for this market across multiple segments.”
The Cornelius facility will consolidate separate R&D staffs currently operating at a number of locations throughout the U.S. and will be led by Shoichiro (Sho) Matsuda, YCNA vice president of corporate technical. “Our primary focus here will be tire development,” said Matsuda. “We will also support other technical groups such as quality assurance and technical services.”
Thomas Kenny, director of consumer tire development, Dan Steltmann, director of commercial tire development, and Jeremy Kahrs, director of technical service, will all be based out of the company’s new location.
Kuze said the U.S. Development Center is Yokohama’s largest overseas R&D center in both functions and number of employees. He noted that by consolidating the company’s R&D activities, Yokohama will be able to accelerate its ability to deliver new products that meet the demands of the market.
“Cornelius is a great fit for our company. The proximity to the airport and the skilled workforce is going to make this facility very successful,” he added.