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Tonawanda tire plant has new name: Sumitomo

The Goodyear Dunlop Tire North America plant in the Town of Tonawanda has changed its name, to Sumitomo Rubber USA.

The Sheridan Drive plant this year will also start developing and producing Falken-branded tires, marking an expansion of its product lineup.

The name change stemmed from the end of a joint venture between Goodyear and Sumitomo. When the dissolution was finalized last October, Sumitomo assumed full ownership of Goodyear Dunlop Tire North America.

“Tire manufacturing is a high-tech industry, and now being the newest member of the (Sumitomo Rubber) global tire manufacturing family, provides us all with the opportunity to remain an important and viable member of the Western New York community for many more years to come,” said Tim Noe, senior vice president of manufacturing for Sumitomo Rubber USA, in a statement.

The Tonawanda site has produced tires since 1923, and is the only U.S. factory that makes motorcycle tires. The site also makes tires for passenger cars, trucks and buses. After the plant underwent ownership changes in the 1980s, Sumitomo acquired a majority equity share of Dunlop Tire Corp. in the United States. The joint venture with Goodyear was formed in 1999.

The Tonawanda plant has 950 workers represented by United Steelworkers of America Local 135, as well as more than 200 plant salaried and corporate staff. There are also about 150 people working full time at the plant for different support contractors.

Sumitomo Rubber Industries is based in Japan. Its North American subsidiary, Sumitomo Rubber North America, is headquartered in California.