Goodyear sees EEC growth potential

Goodyear sees EEC growth potential

SET-listed tyre maker Goodyear Thailand plans to expand production capacity for tyres for passenger cars and aircraft in Pathum Thani, taking advantage of new opportunities in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

The corridor promotes the automotive and aviation sectors as S-curve industries.

Luca Crepaccioli, newly appointed managing director, said Goodyear is in talks with car and aircraft companies to supply tyres under new purchase contracts.

Goodyear announced in August 2016 it had earmarked 5.63 billion baht for a radial aircraft tyre factory in Pathum Thani, targeting commercial airlines both in Thailand and abroad.

The expansion will be divided into three phases over a 10-year period.

The first phase, from 2016 to 2018, with an investment of 1.62 billion baht, has already begun operation.

The second phase targets investment worth 2.97 billion baht for 2018-22, while the third phase, worth 1.03 billion, is slated for 2023-25, but these phases are subject to market demand and other conditions.

Mr Crepaccioli said the EEC will create new opportunities for many related industries in the near future.

"The government is promoting Thailand as the aviation hub in Southeast Asia, so Goodyear hopes this policy will support the tyre industry as well," he said.

However, Thailand's automotive industry is expected to stay flat in 2020 from negative factors such as a bearish global economy and weak purchasing power.

"The tyre market will face many difficulties next year, so Goodyear will runs sales promotions and campaigns to beef up revenue," said Mr Crepaccioli. "The local market has sales of 10 million tyres a year."

Goodyear Thailand's Pathum Thani facility has 1,000 employees.

The factory ships tyres to Asia, the Middle East, Oceania and South Africa.

US-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co is the major shareholder in Goodyear Thailand with a 66.97% stake.

Goodyear AutoCare, a retail network, includes more than 70 stores nationwide and has spent millions of to build up the brand's reputation.

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