Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, backed by its Japan-based parent company Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI), plans to boost production of Dunlop tyres at its Ladysmith plant with a R1.7 billion investment.
The production capacity is being boosted as more Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) look to domestic tyre producers to meet their vehicle specifications, a statement said.
The investment drive was announced during the 50th anniversary of Dunlop’s Ladysmith manufacturing plant on Monday. The facility opened in October 1973.
Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (SRSA) also distributes the Sumitomo and Falken tyre brands.
Minister of Trade Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, said the new investment would provide a boost to local production, strengthen the factory’s output, support local jobs and modernise the plant.
“South Africa has an 88-year history of tyre manufacturing, and this plant is Africa’s largest tyre producer. The investment announced today serves as a clear signal of the confidence that international investors have in South Africa and reflects the progress we have made with the SA Automotive Master Plan,” said Patel.
SRSA CEO Lubin Ozoux, said they were investing significantly in their passenger car radial production facility to make a greater impact in the automotive industry.
“The plant will be able to run a wider set of products, producing more tyres that meet and exceed OE specifications, and that are safety-tested for all South Africans,” he said.
Dunlop holds about 20% of the local OE market and has agreements in place with Toyota, Nissan, Isuzu, Hino, Tata, Scania and UD Trucks, effectively resulting in one-in-five vehicles on South African roads being factory fitted with tyres produced from the Ladysmith plant.
The investment includes new plant equipment and machinery, such as a new mixer, new tread line, and new sidewall line.