Nokian Expanding Tire Factory in Tennessee
Finnish company Nokian put down roots in the South a few years ago, opening a brand-new facility just northeast of Chattanooga back in 2019 where they currently employ about 350 locals. In a spurt of good news for the area, Nokian has announced they plan to bump that number to 475 by the end of this year.
At full capacity, the factory in Dayton (Tennessee, not Ohio) is on track to produce as many as four million all-season and all-weather tires per year by 2024, intended for sale in the North American market.
“As demand for our tires grows in the United States and Canada, our expanded Dayton Factory will supply customers with a rising number of safe, sustainable all-season and all-weather products,” said Nokian Tyres Vice President of Sales Tommi Heinonen. “We are happy to see the factory provide more jobs for North American workers and more tires for North American drivers.”
In addition to the plant expansion, a new onsite tire storage warehouse will have a capacity of 600,000 tires and will open in mid-2024, joining join the company’s nine-warehouse network throughout the U.S. and Canada. After all, big rubber hoops tend to consume a lot of space and it’s no point in manufacturing the things if you’ve nowhere to put them until the trucks show up. Otherwise, you’ll end up in a situation that faced a graduation class in your author’s high school when overzealous volunteers inflated hundreds of balloons several days before an event – only to find out they had had nowhere to stash the things. Hilarity ensued.
Back at Nokian, their 830,000 square-foot facility includes an administration building that has one eye squarely on Johnny Polar Bear, plus the only LEED v4 Silver-certified tire production building in the world. In plain English, that means all aspects of the facility – from its interior design to building operation and maintenance – are in tune with a series of strict environmental goals. Attached to the campus is a five-story mixing building where the company formulates super-secret rubber compounds for the tires it crafts next door.
Nokian has been expanding its footprint and market share on this side of the pond, a market in which the brand is primarily known for its prowess with winter rubber. While its products for that season are absolutely top-tier, Nokian is keen to imbue the same impression on North American drivers about their all-season and all-weather offerings. Large investments and expansions like the ones in Tennessee will surely help achieve those goals.
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