Mississippi geting new tire plant
Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 12:00 am
WEST POINT, Miss. (AP) — Executives with Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. say they will build a new tire plant in Mississippi because they see a global supply shortage for tires.
State and company officials gathered last week at the Ritz Theater & Conference Center in West Point to celebrate the company’s plans to build a factory. Later, Gov. Phil Bryant and company officials traveled to the 500-acre site northeast of town, where they drove across a field on all-terrain vehicles and unveiled a sign noting the site. The company plans to invest $300 million, hiring 500 people, in a first phase, and could invest $1.2 billion, hiring 2,000 people, over time. State and local governments could give more than $340 million in aid and tax breaks.
“I am honored Yokohama has selected our state for its newest U.S. tire manufacturing facility,” Bryant, a Republican, said in a news release.
Takayuki Hamaya, chief operating officer of Yokohama Tire Corp., told The Associated Press in a phone interview that construction would start in September and production is scheduled to begin in October 2015. The company will seek employees later, but the state has started a website for people to express interest in jobs or contracts. Mississippi officials have said Yokohama workers will make about $35,000 a year, on average.
The company now makes tires for passenger cars and trucks in Salem, Va. It makes commercial tires at a joint-venture plant at a plant in Mount Vernon, Ill. Himaya said that it hasn’t been decided yet whether the company will make passenger tires in Mississippi in later phases, but said the Virginia plant shouldn’t be affected either way. He said Yokohama doesn’t plan to withdraw from the joint venture in Illinois.
In March, Clay County had an 18.2 percent unemployment rate, the highest in the state. And a double-digit unemployment rate has been the norm in Clay County ever since then-Sara Lee Corp. closed the Bryan Foods plant in 2007, laying off 2,100 workers.
Jobs or contracts at Yokohama plant: www.yokohamams.org