Toyo Tire on Friday announced the fourth expansion of its tire production plant near White, Ga., since locating in North Georgia in 2004.
The Japanese tire maker said it will add 450 jobs within the next two years and another 200 jobs by 2017 as part of a $371 million expansion.
Jim Hawk, the president of Toyo's North American division, said the addition will help meet growing demand in the automotive industry.
"We are proud to manufacture tires for North America, in North America," Hawk said during a ceremony at the plant site Friday. "This plant, and the people who work in it, play an important role in supporting consumers and our dealers as the demand for our products continues to grow."
Toyo Tire, founded in 1945 and headquartered in Japan, has been operating in the North American market for nearly 50 years.
Since the first tire rolled off the line of the White, Ga., facility in 2006, Toyo has more than doubled the size of the facility and grown the staff from an initial 81 employees to more than 1,000 workers today.
Gov. Nathan Deal attended the ground-breaking ceremony Friday and said the repeal of a sales tax on energy used in manufacturing last year in the Georgia Legislature helped secure Friday's announcement.
"Toyo Tire could have gone anywhere in the world to make this kind of addition," Deal said. "But they chose to stay right here in Bartow County. And I believe with the help of the General Assembly we have made the prospects of expansion even better."
The Japanese tire maker will add 700,000 square feet to its current 2-million-square-foot manufacturing plant by the end of 2017. At the same time, Toyo Tire will expand the warehousing footprint by 30 percent.
The Bartow-Cartersville Joint Development Authority assisted with the Toyo Tire expansion, along with Georgia Department of Economic Development.
"Our advanced workforce and No. 1 business climate create the ideal location for a fast-growing company to increase production and remain competitive," said Chris Carr , Georgia's chief industry recruiter.
Bartow County Sole Commissioner Steve Taylor said the expansion will boost Toyo's local investment to more than $1 billion.
"They have been a great partner for the community," he said.
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