Tiremaker passes on South Carolina, picks Tennessee for 1,800-worker plant
A South Korean tiremaker has picked Tennessee over South Carolina and Georgia for an $800 million factory that will create 1,800 jobs.
Hankook said today it will build its first North American plant in Clarksville, which is about 30 miles northwest of Nashville. Production is scheduled to begin in 2016.
Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO, called the 1.5 million-square-foot U.S. plant “the next natural phase for our continued growth.” He said the decision to build n Tennessee was the result of a year of discussions with state officials.
He cited the central location and existing auto industry as major factors. Nissan, General Motors and Volkswagen all have assembly plants in the Volunteer State.
Also, Clarksville is home to a steel cord plant for Japanese tire maker Bridgestone, which has its Americas headquarters in Nashville.
Hankook is the seventh-largest tire maker in the world.
Last month, a company executive identified South Carolina as one of three Southeast states trying to flag down the big tire-making factory.
The factory would start out by making 5 million tires a year and gradually double its annual production. It would target demand in developed countries.
According ot news reports. Hankook recently secured deals to supply tires to Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Nissan Altima sedans, and the South Korean company also is doing more business with Toyota.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.