Nokian Tyres has produced the first test tire at its factory in Dayton, the largest milestone yet at the global tire company’s first production facility in North America.
The first tire, a Nokian eNTYRE 2.0 in size 205/55R16, marks the beginning of trial production, as Nokian Tyres remains on schedule to start building tires for commercial sale in the early part of next year.
“We are thrilled to begin making premium tires at our new factory,” said Dayton Factory Operations Director Peter Chia.
“While this moment is the culmination of lots of hard work, it’s only the start of the next phase of our journey here in Tennessee. I am endlessly proud of our team for working tirelessly to bring us to this point.”
Between now and the end of the year, Nokian Tyres will produce thousands more tires for testing and machine calibration purposes. Annual capacity at the factory will be four million tires, with further expansion potential.
Now that trial production is underway, Nokian Tyres will soon turn its attention to growing its team at the factory. The company currently employs approximately 70 team members.
Available positions will range from entry-level production roles to engineering and management opportunities. At full capacity, the company will employ approximately 400 workers at the factory.
“The first tire milestone is significant for our production team here in Dayton and for our employees throughout North America,” said Nokian Tyres Senior Vice President Mark Earl, who oversees the company’s North American operations. “We are thrilled to see how this factory will benefit our company, and we look forward to helping achieve strong economic growth in Southeast Tennessee.”
The factory's production team recently returned home from an intensive six-week training experience at Nokian Tyres’ other factories in Russia and Finland. The training trip immersed employees in the company’s production processes and introduced them to its life-driven culture.
“We aren’t just focused on building premium products; we also want to offer a premium experience for members of our team,” Mr. Chia said. “Simply put: We want to be the employer of choice in Southeast Tennessee.”
The company has already demonstrated its commitment to employees and the community. In addition to the overseas training experience, launch team members have already performed thousands of hours of community service during work hours. The company is also the title sponsor of Nokian Tyres Summer Nights, a concert series in Dayton this month aimed at bringing hundreds of guests to the town.
Last year, the company opened a new headquarters office in Nashville, less than three hours from the Dayton factory.
The Dayton factory is a major element of Nokian Tyres’ ambitious growth strategy, through which the company aims to double North American sales by 2023. The facility will allow the company to make premium products tailored to the needs of North American consumers, expand its customer base, and strengthen its relationships with existing customers.