Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is gearing up to make a new line of giant tires at its manufacturing plant in Topeka.
The company said Wednesday that it would begin making 63-inch radial tires in Topeka by the end of next year.
The six-ton tires will be used “exclusively” on the largest pieces of earth-moving and mining equipment, a segment in which “demand has exceeded supply for some time,” the company said.
“This demand remains strong, even during the current economic downturn, because of the economic advantages these tires deliver to customers in longer run hours and less downtime,” the company said.
Goodyear said it would upgrade its Topeka plant, where work already has begun to prepare for production of the new tires.
John Cavanaugh, vice president for Goodyear’s off-highway tire business, said that the new, larger tire would be a “highly engineered” and leverage the company’s ongoing work on the 57-inch models, which the company has been producing for nearly two decades.
“This is a long-term strategic decision that reflects Goodyear’s commitment to deliver products for OTR (off-the-road) customers’ changing demands,” Cavanaugh said, in a statement.
The new tires, he said, will be “assembled with latest-generation manufacturing equipment.”
Goodyear did not disclose the amount of new investment planned for the Topeka plant, nor whether the new product would boost employment.
Goodyear announced its plans Wednesday, the same day it released financial results for the third quarter.
Cost-cutting efforts, lower costs for raw materials and introductions of new products helped boost corporate profits for the quarter to $72 million, or 30 cents a share, compared with $31 million, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier, the Akron, Ohio-based company said. Sales were $4.4 billion, down 15 percent from $5.2 billion a year earlier.