AKRON -- Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is starting to explore where to locate a new $500 million tire plant that it hopes to open within three years.
The tire maker said its search is wide open, and that it will consider sites in both North and South America. It hopes to make a decision by early next year.
"All locations in the Americas are on the table for consideration," said Goodyear spokesman Keith Price.
Goodyear, based in Akron, announced Thursday that it intends to construct a state-of-the-art factory that would make about 6 million tires a year.
Richard Kramer, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, said growing demand for higher-priced premium tires makes it the right time to increase the company's manufacturing.
"Goodyear is well-positioned to meet this market demand and has a proven track record of producing strong returns on capital investments," he said in a statement.
The company also plans to spend $350 million to increase tire production at other facilities. Goodyear has not built a tire factory in North Americas since 1990 when it opened a plant in Ontario, Canada. Goodyear's website says the company manufactures its products in 51 facilities in 22 countries.
Ohio officials wouldn't say whether they've talked with Goodyear about putting the new plant within the state, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported.
"While for competitive reasons we don't comment on whether or not we're in discussions with companies, JobsOhio is always actively working to help grow and attract business, investment and jobs to Ohio," said Laura Jones, a spokeswoman for the private development company for the state.
Dan Colantone, president of the Greater Akron Chamber, said he did not know about Goodyear's plans before the announcement.
"I can't imagine northeast Ohio not being considered. We'll put our best foot forward. It will be a team effort," he said. "But I think the more important news is the continued success Goodyear is having. The positive economic report. The demand for more production."
David Zielasko, editor and vice president/publisher of trade magazine Tire Business, told the Akron Beacon Journal that more tire plants as of late have been built in the South.
"It used to be companies were chasing the lowest labor costs. Now, they want to save on logistics," he said. "I think companies are locating now where it makes the most sense logistically."