Hankook Tire moving North American Headquarters to Nashville

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — South Korean tiremaker Hankook announced Wednesday that it is relocating its North American headquarters from New Jersey to Tennessee.

Company and state officials said in a ceremony at the state Capitol that 200 jobs will move to downtown Nashville, about 40 miles southeast of Hankook's new tire factory in Clarksville. Hankook broke ground on the plant in 2014, and it is expected to be completed this year.

"By moving our America headquarters to Nashville we will benefit from the synergies provided by having our sales and production facilities in close proximity to each other," said Hankook CEO Seung Hwa Suh. "It will be an opportunity for Hankook to step up and expand in the U.S. market."

Gov. Bill Haslam lauded Hankook's decision to bring its headquarters to Nashville.

"We're delighted when a company that's already made a big investment in Tennessee decided to double down and make another," Haslam said. "This is another step along the way showing that Tennessee really can be that center of activity for companies, all the way along from what they make to how their run their companies."

Haslam said the move underscores the increasing role the automotive sector plays in Tennessee, where General Motors, Nissan and Volkswagen have assembly plants. Nissan also has its American headquarters in suburban Nashville.

Rival tiremaker Bridgestone announced in 2014 it would consolidate its Americas headquarters in a new 30-story building in downtown Nashville. Hankook is still in negotiations about where it will locate its offices, and details of the state's incentive package were not immediately released.

Hankook's current headquarters are located about 25 miles outside New York in Wayne, New Jersey.

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd said Tennessee prevailed over several other states in landing the Hankook headquarters.

"It was very competitive with many of the normal suspects all throughout the Southeast," Boyd said.

Haslam said that the announcement isn't related to the $30 million that his administration is seeking for earmark in the state budget for an undisclosed economic development project in Tennessee.