Manufacturer of the popular Dunlop tyre brand, Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (SRSA), has celebrated the official commencement of production at its state-of-the-art truck and bus radial (TBR) tyre manufacturing plant in Ladysmith.

This is the latest milestone in a journey of expansion and development by Sumitomo , which saw the world’s fifth-largest producer of automotive tyres and industrial rubber products acquire a South African tyre manufacturing plant in December 2013, resulting in the birth of SRSA.

The acquisition sought to facilitate the procurement of an established manufacturing location on the African continent and control of the Dunlop brand rights for the whole of Africa.

SRSA Chief Executive Officer, Riaz Haffejee, expressed his excitement about the prospects for growth of its Dunlop and Sumitomo branded TBR tyre in Africa and highlighted the extensive research and development processes that have been followed during the design and production of these tyres.

“The total size range will be completed by September 2019; however, our customers will not have to wait until this period to experience our top of the range TBR product with sales of TBR tyres set to commence in Q4 this year”, said Haffejee.

“The factory aims to eventually have the capability to manufacture enough tyres per day to meet TBR customer demand of Dunlop and Sumitomo branded tyres for both Replacement and Original Equipment market across the whole Africa.”

The factory currently employs 1 060 individuals, with over 80% of the workforce hailing from Ladysmith and surrounding areas. Employment has been created for 193 additional employees since the start-up including 118 in-service trainees, learnerships, graduates and apprenticeships, through which skills are being developed.