“Yokohama is expanding their local production to 50,000 tires
a day by 2017… This is a very good market our local rubber
industry,” Trade Undersecretary Merly M. Cruz said during a media briefing last week.
Yokohama Tire Philippines, Inc.’s plant in the Clark Freeport Zone currently produces about 21,000 tires a day, Ms. Cruz said.
Only 6% of raw materials are meanwhile sourced locally at present, she added.
“We are eyeing to increase [local raw materials’] share to 50% by 2017,” Ms. Cruz said.
“We need to [improve the capacity] of our industry players in order to build better product quality…” the Trade official said further.
This, as she noted that the government is looking to encourage a 40% growth in the local rubber industry over the next four years.
“At present, we have about 306,000 hectares of rubber plantation,” Ms. Cruz said.
She added that the rubber industry is among the sectors targeted by the Trade department’s P700-million support program for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The program is expected to provide shared processing facilities, microfinance and capacity building training to MSME clusters, primarily agri-based industries.
Before this, Yokohoma rival Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. had closed down its factory in Las Piñas City in late 2009, a move which displaced some 500 employees, according to earlier reports.
Yokohama, in announcing its expansion last year, had said a portion of the expanded facility will be come on stream by next year, with full utilization seen by 2014.
The Yokohama factory in Clark, Pampanga, established in 1996, manufactures tires with internal diameters of 13 to 18 inches for passenger cars and sports utility vehicles according to its Web site.
The plant currently has 1,950 employees.
About 96% of Yokohama’s current production is for export, while the remaining 4% is sold locally, the Web site showed further.
North American markets are the major destination for tire exports while other export markets include Europe and Southeast Asia.
Aside from its Philippine plant, the company is also hiking production in Japan, China, and in the United States.
With the opening of its factory in Russia last May, Yokohama’s global production capacity now stands at 60 million tires a year. – Kim Arveen M. Patria