Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi (YTMM) officially opened its $300 million commercial truck tire facility in West Point, Miss., on October 5.
Just a little over 24 months after breaking ground on the site, YTMM commemorated the occasion with more than 300 dignitaries and guests, including Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, at the modern, nearly 1 million-square-foot facility.
Other guests in attendance included Mississippi Congressman Trent Kelly; Consulate-General Masami Kinefuchi from Japan's consulate in Nashville, Tenn.; and representatives from the Mississippi state government, local universities and YTMM suppliers.
In his opening ceremony speech, Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. President Hikomitsu Noji emphasized the importance of the new plant and thanked all the guests for bringing it to an early fruition, saying "You should know just how much this new plant means to us. Our industry is positioned for solid growth, and we had to move fast. We could no longer sit on the sidelines, without our own state-of-the-art manufacturing facility right here in the United States.
"Your incredible support and efforts helped make this possible. You gave us everything we needed, and now, a mere two years after we did the groundbreaking on this beautiful 500-acre site, we are ready to make the tires that will keep America’s trucks rolling down the road and the economy moving.”
“The grand opening of our first U.S.-built plant is truly a historic day for Yokohama,” said Tadaharu Yamamoto, president of YTMM. “Thanks to Gov. Bryant, the great state of Mississippi, the entire community of West Point, the Golden Triangle Region and the incredible Mississippi workforce, the plant site was developed to a fully operational state-of-the-art facility in record time.”
YTMM has hired 260 employees, more than half of the 500 employees needed by 2018, when phase one of the plant will be completed. Constructed on 570 acres of land, the YTMM plant houses manufacturing, warehousing and operations facilities, and will produce up to 1 million truck and bus tires annually when running at full capacity.
“The opening of Yokohama’s manufacturing facility in West Point brings full circle a project that broke ground just two short years ago," said Gov. Bryant. "I appreciate the Yokohama team, the Mississippi Legislature and state and local officials who have worked hard from day one to expedite this project and create so many jobs for the residents of West Point and the Golden Triangle region.