News & Press

Kumho Tire to launch $225million factory in Macon-Bibb hiring 300

The president of Kumho Tire North America said Thursday the company never wavered from its commitment to build a tire factory in south Bibb County.
“I am here today to deliver some great news on behalf of the Kumho Tire Co.,” said President Harry Choi. “There’s a famous saying that goes, ‘Sometimes the best things in life are worth waiting for.’ Well. I’m here to tell you the wait is officially over.”
The formal announcement, made at Central Georgia Technical College’s Macon campus Thursday, says Kumho will have more than 300 employees at its $225 million facility in the Sofkee Industrial Park.
The project was announced in 2008, but it stalled, with officials citing economic difficulties. Those problems continue, and Choi said he’s certain the factory will be funded but construction won’t start for about two more years, possibly in August 2015. The factory could begin production in late 2016, he said.
Choi said the company is in a “workout situation” with creditors but should graduate that next year.
Local officials were ecstatic over the announcement that the project is being revived. There’s a potential for the Kumho plant to expand as well. Choi said the plant initially would begin producing about 3 million tires per year, but it has the ability to make as many as 10 million tires.
Pat Topping, senior vice president of Macon Economic Development Commission, said the company will bring “good manufacturing jobs.” Salary information was not available.
Topping doesn’t doubt Kumho is coming.
“We feel very confident that the company is in a position to build this facility,” he said.
Officials stressed the idea of a partnership.
Cliffard Whitby, chairman of the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, said any good partnership has ups and downs.
“Kumho being here today is an indication that the work that started in 2008 continues today,” Whitby said.
Whitby also spoke elliptically about doubts, as well as local changes such as complications from consolidating Macon and Bibb County.
“Sometimes we get cynical as it relates to the way things operate and the way things work,” he said. “But this is also testimony to this community being able to do the right thing for the right reasons.”
Kumho has 150 acres in the Sofkee Industrial Park off Ga. 247, with an option on another 30. The plant will take up less than half the space available in the park.
In his announcement, Choi said, “I want to thank you for your patience and your loyalty to Kumho Tire. ... Macon has been a great partner, and we look forward to many more years of success together.”

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