Findlay, Ohio-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has announced that Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company, located in Hangzhou, China will be supplying approximately one million passenger radial tires (annualized) to Cooper for sale in the U. S. market. Last October, Cooper announced an agreement with Hangzhou to supply Cooper with radial medium truck (RMT) tires which had previously been made at Cooper’s Albany, Georgia plant. The Albany facility will add passenger capacity to replace the RMT production. The Hangzhou passenger production consists of one entry-level line in six sizes under the proprietary brand names Cooper, Mastercraft, Dean and Starfire. These tires will be produced using Cooper specifications and quality standards specifically for the North American market. Tires will be produced in Hangzhou’s ISO 9001 certified plant in Hangzhou, China. It is anticipated these tires will be available in the third quarter, 2004. Cooper engineers have been in collaboration with Hangzhou and are on site in China developing the tire and conducting audits to assure all products comply with the highest quality standards and exceed all governmental requirements. “This outsourcing arrangement with this respected manufacturer will help us meet our growing demand. Our UHP initiative has resulted in a steadily increasing demand for the Cooper Zeon performance lines. By outsourcing some of our broadline products, we can devote more production capacity to the more exotic performance tires,” said Dick Stephens, President, Cooper’s Tire Group. “We have increased capacity at all of our U.S. plants and these tires from Hangzhou will help fill in the gap between our capacity and projected demand,” concluded Stephens.