Yokohama Tire Corporation (YTC) has opened its new tire research and development facility, the Yokohama Development Center America (YDCA), in Cornelius, N.C. The high- tech, 25,000-sq.-ft. building in Mecklenburg County, replaces the temporary R&D office Yokohama has used in Concord, N.C., since 2016, according to an announcement.
“In 1969, almost 50 years ago, Yokohama entered the U.S. market and since then our name has been associated with quality, technology and innovation,” says Shinichi Takimoto, president and CEO, Yokohama Tire Corporation of North America (YCNA), and YTC chairman and CEO. “This will continue with YDCA, which represents another major milestone for Yokohama in the U.S.”
Tetsuya Kuze, executive vice president at YCNA, says, “The opening of YDCA is another example of our continued investment in North America. We are committed to developing new products for this market across multiple segments.”
The Cornelius facility will consolidate separate R&D staffs currently operating at a number of locations throughout the U.S. and will be led by Shoichiro (Sho) Matsuda, YCNA vice president of corporate technical. “Our primary focus here will be tire development,” says Matsuda. “We will also support other technical groups such as quality assurance and technical services.”
Thomas Kenny, director of consumer tire development, Dan Steltmann, director of commercial tire development, and Jeremy Kahrs, director of technical service, all will be based out of the company’s new location.
Kuze says the U.S. Development Center is Yokohama’s largest overseas R&D center in both functions and number of employees. “Consolidating our R&D activities will strengthen our R&D structure and further accelerate our ability to deliver new products that meet the demands of the market. Cornelius is a great fit for our company. The proximity to the airport and the skilled workforce is going to make this facility very successful,” Kuze says.
Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam says, “Yokohama’s expansion in Cornelius is a great win for our community. This is an excellent example of how the town has worked to add additional tax base and high-quality jobs.”