The world's seventh-largest tire manufacturer this morning announced it will spend $800 million to build a plant in Clarksville, creating 1,800 jobs in the process.
Hankook Tire Group executives had been considering sites in South Carolina and Georgia as well as Tennessee but reports surfaced out of South Korea last week that the company had settled on the Nashville area. Hankook plans to crank out 10 million tires a year from its new facility, which will be its first in the United States and eighth overall.
“This new facility will help Hankook Tire accomplish our plan to establish a production base in all major markets,” said Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and CEO of Hankook Tire, pictured at right with Gov. Bill Haslam. “We will be able to provide our customers, consumers and car makers with high quality tires and industry leading service to meet the demands of the American market.”
Plans call for construction on a 1.5-million-square-foot building to start in late 2014 with the plant scheduled to open in 2016. The plant will be located on 469 acres in the Clarksville-Montgomery County Corporate Business Park South, just off Interstate 24 east of downtown Clarksville. The park already is home to Bridgestone Metalpha, Robert Bosch and Quebecor World, among others.
“I want to thank Hankook Tire for its substantial investment in Tennessee and for the 1,800 jobs they’ll create in Montgomery County,” Haslam said in a statement. “The auto sector is a key industry cluster where Tennessee has a distinct advantage with more than 900 auto suppliers and manufacturers, and today’s announcement reinforces our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
The announcement would be a big shot in the arm for the region at any point, but it is especially important to Montgomery County as it tries to bounce back from the laying off of hundreds of workers early this year at Hemlock Semiconductor, which had been one of the county's ECD pearls until a global glut of solar panels contributed to a big downturn in that venture's fortunes.