TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. supplier Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. is considering expanding U.S. production as part of a plan to concentrate investments in markets where it can gain from profitable products such as SUV tires.
The company may raise its annual tire output capacity in the U.S. to 8.5 million by early 2015, President Akira Nobuki said in an interview last week at Toyo's headquarters in Osaka, Japan. The manufacturer, which gets about 36 percent of sales from North America, now has the capacity to produce 6.5 million tires a year.
The tire maker is among companies benefiting from the recovery of the U.S. auto market and the weakening of the yen.
Total car sales in the world's second-biggest automotive market rose 7.7 percent to 7.83 million vehicles in the first six months of this year, with last month's deliveries growing at the best monthly pace since November 2007.
"There's no country like the U.S.," Nobuki said.
"Manufacturing is making a comeback, and we can picture the scenario of jobs coming back, expanding, and for spending and purchases of cars growing."
In the U.S., where light-vehicle sales are on track for the best year since 2007, Toyota's deliveries rose 9.7 percent to 195,235 vehicles last month, topping the 6.2 percent average of eight estimates. Toyo Tire said demand for products with higher profit margins, such as tires used in SUVs and pickup trucks, is where the company sees growth in the U.S.
Depending on demand, annual tire production in the U.S. may be further increased to 10 million by 2020, Nobuki said. In raising output beyond 2015, the company may consider locations in addition to White, Ga., site of the company's only North American facility for now, he said.
Separately, Nobuki said that in its domestic market, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing reflationary policies in an attempt to boost manufacturers, "raising capacity would be difficult unless policies to revive demand among the younger population come up."