Mon May 28 09:18 am 2018 in categories Product news, Company news
Nokian Tyres starts the construction of a new technology center in Spain
Nokian Tyres has launched the construction of a new testing and technology center in Spain. The groundbreaking ceremony was held this Friday, May 25 on the grounds of the new center in Santa Cruz de la Zarza. The first test tracks will be completed next year, and the technology center is expected to be fully operational in 2020.
Nokian Tyres currently operates two test centers in Finland - Ivalo and Nokia. Adding a third testing facility and technology center in Spain’s warmer climate allows for year-round testing of all-season, all-weather and winter tires. The aim is to develop tires that increase driver safety, are more environmentally friendly and improve performance. With North American demand growing for tires with a higher speed rating, this will help Nokian Tyres further develop its growing all-season lineup.
“We have been planning the new center for a long time in cooperation with the local authorities and other partners,” said Hille Korhonen, President & CEO for Nokian Tyres. “Now is the time to take the next step and start building a technology center for the future that offers versatile opportunities for accelerating product development and growing our product range.”
State-of-the-art tire testing technology
The vast 750 acre testing area will have more than 10 different test tracks that will be used to study the durability and performance of tires with the modern testing technology. Circling the facility is a 4.5 mile oval track for testing tires at speeds of up to 190mph. Furthermore, the tracks allow for performing many of the approval testing required from tires, such as wet grip and rolling noise tests.
“The modern, versatile test tracks in the new technology center will be tailored for the demanding development work that goes into every Nokian Tyres product,” said Pontus Stenberg, Vice President of the Products and Technologies unit for Nokian Tyres. “The hot Spanish conditions provide us with a great setting for testing our tires all year long. Comprehensive testing and a thorough understanding of customer needs ensures that our premium tires are state-of-the-art and work reliably in all conditions.”
Research project seeks replacement for natural rubber
In addition to testing, the technology center aims to accelerate sustainable product development and innovation. In 2017, Nokian Tyres was involved in starting a research project that studied the utilization of the guayule plant for more environmentally friendly tire manufacturing. The guayule plant can survive under dry and barren conditions and is seen as a potential replacement for natural rubber. For local farmers, it is a possible alternative to less profitable grain farming.
A positive impact on the region
The technology center will have a positive impact on the vitality and employment of the region. The project will employ roughly 200 people during construction and retain 40 new positions once complete. Additionally, it will have a significant indirect effect on the employment of the transport, services and logistics industries.
Nokian Tyres actively builds relationships with local communities by supporting local events, sports clubs and selected charity projects. The environment is also taken into account in many ways. Nokian Tyres will, for example, participate in the local tree planting project and actions that support nesting of birds.
Emiliano García-Page, the President of Castile-La Mancha, and Patricia Franco, the Minister of Economic Development and Employment, said they are grateful for the investment and long-term cooperation that will provide new opportunities for the region.
“Nokian Tyres investing in Castile-La Mancha is an important project for us too, creating new jobs and growth opportunities for the region,” said Emiliano García-Page, president of Castile-La Mancha. “We believe it will have a positive impact on local business here in the heart of Spain.”
About Nokian Tyres
Nokian Tyres is the world’s northernmost tire manufacturer. The company promotes and facilitates safe driving in demanding conditions. It supplies innovative tires for cars, trucks and special heavy machinery mainly in areas with special challenges on tire performance: snow, forests and harsh driving conditions in different seasons. Nokian Tyres’ product development is consistently aiming for sustainable solutions for safety and the environment, taking into account the whole life cycle of the tire. A part of the Nokian Tyres group, the tyre chain Vianor has approximately 1,500 stores in 26 countries. In 2017, Nokian Tyres had approximately 4,600 employees and net sales of approximately $2.0 billion USD. Nokian Tyres’ share is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki. Further information: www.nokiantires.com
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