Nokian Tyres broke ground last week for the company’s new passenger car tyre factory in Oradea, Romania. The groundbreaking ceremony for the tyre industry’s first zero CO2 emission factory was honoured by the presence of the Prime Minister of Romania, Nicolae Ciucă. The President of the Bihor County Council, Ilie Bolojan, and other high-level Romanian and Finnish officials participated as well as the Chair of Nokian Tyres Board of Directors Jukka Hienonen. Commercial tyre production in the factory is scheduled to start in 2025, serving customers especially in Central Europe.
“This investment is a significant strategic step enabling our future growth and development. A world-class manufacturing facility in Europe is a key step in getting additional capacity and creating a balanced manufacturing platform as we build the new Nokian Tyres,” says Jukka Moisio, President and CEO of Nokian Tyres.
“We are very proud to build the first zero CO2 emission factory in the tyre industry. This means for instance that energy used at the factory comes from renewable sources and steam needed for the tyre manufacturing process is generated fully without fossil fuels. The site location in Romania supports the target as we can utilize green energy produced near the site. We are committed to building a sustainable and competitive tyre production facility,” he continues.
6 million tires per year
The greenfield factory is being built in the North-West of Romania in the city of Oradea, an important regional and European hub of many transport routes.
The total investment is estimated to be approximately EUR 650 million, which is among the most valuable investments in Romania in the recent years. Nokian Tyres is waiting for the final decision from EU for its EU funding application for some EUR 100 million, which the Romanian government already approved earlier this year.
The annual capacity of the factory will be 6 million tyres with expansion potential in the future. The factory will concentrate on the production of larger rim size passenger and SUV tyres that will be primarily sold in the Central European market. The site will also house a distribution facility for storage and distribution of tyres. The combined built-up area totals some 100,000 m2.
The first tyres are estimated to be produced in the second half of 2024. Commercial tyre production is expected to start in early 2025.
“Central Europe is an important market for us, and the investment shows our commitment to the market. The new site will be strategically located close to our customers. After a thorough evaluation of over 40 locations and several factors, such as skilled workforce availability, logistical advantages, and stable business environment, it was clear that Oradea was the best choice for our new factory,” says Adrian Kaczmarczyk, SVP, Supply Operations.
Recruiting 500 skilled people
The planned headcount of the Romanian factory is about 500 people. Nokian Tyres will hire people both to production as well as managerial positions. The recruitments will accelerate in 2024 and continue until the full workforce of the factory has been hired and the factory starts its operations.
“We will cooperate with the local schools in Oradea to provide the right type of training to our future employees. In the beginning, we will utilise the inhouse knowledge and the experience we obtained when we built our factory in the US. We will bring some 20–25 people from Finland to Oradea to help set-up the factory,” says Adrian Kaczmarczyk, SVP, Supply Operations.
In addition to building a new passenger car tyre factory to Oradea, Nokian Tyres continues to increase capacity at the existing factories in Finland and the US and grow contract manufacturing. Nokian Tyres aims to build a global capacity of 15 million tyres by 2027.