The Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd. has announced that the form will build a new manufacturing plant in the United States for the production of passenger car and light truck tires. “Producing Toyo tires at a U.S.-based facility will more fully enable us to serve our customers in North America,” said Yoshio Kataoka, president and CEO Toyo. “Our greatest demand is in the North American market.” In response to robust overseas demand, mainly in North America, Toyo Tire & Rubber has been increasing production capacity at its existing plants in Japan. However, these plants have little capacity for further expansion. In addition to providing needed capacity, local production is expected to help hedge against currency fluctuation risk. The new plant will be located at a site chosen from among several candidates in the eastern-half of the United States, with start-up scheduled for early 2006. A total of 150 million dollars will be invested in the facility, which is slated for annual production of approximately two million passenger car and light truck tires. Once the plant becomes operational, it will initially employ approximately 350 workers. “We take very seriously our commitment to the communities where our facilities are located,” said Mr. Kataoka. “Toyo is, and will remain, a good corporate citizen and a good neighbor.” The Company believes that having a local production plant will enable it to more quickly respond to the needs of the local market and to further solidify its reputation as a reliable brand. Established in 1945, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd. includes divisions related to tires, chemical and industrial products, and automotive parts. Company sales for the fiscal year ending 3/31/03 were $2.1 billion.