Rob Selkow Reporting
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Governor Bill Haslam announced Monday the Hankook Tire Co., South Korea’s biggest tire maker, will invest $800 million to build its first U.S. plant in Clarksville, bringing more than 1,800 jobs to the area over the next five years.
The Governor was joined by state Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, and Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers for the announcement at the Wilma Rudolph Events Center.
“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. “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.”
Monday’s announcement is the culmination of a recruitment project led by Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board and involving close cooperation between city, county, and state officials to secure the 468-acre site off Exit 8.
“This is an exciting day for Hankook and all of our employees, customers, and partners as well as the state of Tennessee and the city of Clarksville,” Mr. Seung Hwa Suh, Vice Chairman and CEO of Hankook Tire, said. “As our brand continues to gain recognition in the United States and demand for our industry-leading tire products continues to grow here, establishing a manufacturing facility in the U.S. further demonstrates our commitment to delivering high quality products and service to the market, and is the next natural phase for our continued growth.”
The plant will have an annual production capacity of 11 million tires and is scheduled to begin production in 2016.
Hiring will come in phases, according to Mike Evans of the EDC, with 1,195 jobs added between 2014 and 2016. Phase II will add another 655 jobs from 2017-2018, according to the business plan, though contractually the company has a ten year window to add all the jobs promised.