After a nearly one year delay, Nexen Tire America finally broke ground on its new tire technology center in Richfield, Ohio, on October 17. The $5 million, 34,000 sq.-ft. building will include offices, labs, test machines and a 3,000 sq.-ft. tire warehouse.
The 70-year old tiremaker hopes the center will be fully operational by November 2018. Gary Zolton, project engineer for Nexen Tire America, said the plan is to staff about 40 employees within five years, up from the 17 currently working in leased space less than a mile from the new facility. Zolton said Nexen chose to remain in Richfield, a suburb between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, due to its proximity to students from the University of Akron and its ability to attract experienced professionals who have worked for other tire testing centers in the area.
Aaron Neumann, project manager for Nexen Tire America, said the Richfield Technical Center team is responsible for the creation of OE tires for the Chrysler Pacifica, as well as a new replacement tire that will launch at the Global Tire Expo at SEMA this November. He said Nexen will announce additional OE fitments for RAM trucks in 2018, continuing a partnership with RAM since 2012, adding that the company should hit 44 million units in 2018, with the goal of 52 million by 2021. .
Nexen has three manufacturing plants – two in Yangsan and Changnyeong, Korea, and one in Qingdao, China. A new plant is being built in Zatec, Czech Republic, and will be operational by 2018. Plans are in progress for a tire plant in North America with a production start-up goal of 2021.