By Katie Byard
Beacon Journal business writer
Giti Tire USA, the North American division of the Singapore tire company, said Friday it will open a technical center in the Akron area.
The location and opening date of the facility will be revealed later, said Giti Tire USA spokeswoman Tami Sisson.
The facility will be Giti Tire’s first research and development center in the United States.
Sisson could not say how many workers the technical center would employ. Top executives with Giti Tire USA were not available for comment.
Currently, the company, which makes passenger as well as truck/bus and off-road tires, has technical centers in China, Indonesia and England. Research and development personnel totals more than 600, Giti Tire said in a news release.
As part of the announcement, the company said it plans to open a technical center in Hanover, Germany.
The Akron area’s central role in the tire and rubber industry was a draw for Giti Tire, whose name is pronounced “Gee Tee.”
Hamid Aboutorabi, who will lead the new center, said in the news release that the Akron area site “is pivotal in ensuring the center’s success.”
Akron, he said, “is still the rubber capital of the world in terms of available academic and commercial knowledge, as well as labs and services directly related to tires.”
Aboutorabi is a 23-year veteran of the tire industry and holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering.
He previously worked for the Kumho Tire technical center in Fairlawn as well as the Akron-headquartered Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., according to his LinkedIn profile.
Aboutorabi participates in international tire conferences and has had several research papers published through the Tire Society, which has annual conferences in the Akron area.
The new technical center “is not just a marker for our commitment to North America, but to improving our products and credentials worldwide,” said the company’s Julianto Djajadi in the release. Djajadi is an executive vice president with Giti Tire USA.
The company did not disclose whether it plans to locate in leased space in the area or build its own facility.
Giti Tire’s brands include Giti, GT Radial, Primewell, Runway and Dextero.
The trade publication Tire Business said the company “is considered the world’s No. 15 tire maker, with 2012 sales of $2.7 billion.”
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.