Goodbye, Mitas. Hello, Continental. The end of the trademark licensing agreement between Continental and its licensee, Mitas a.s., coupled with the acquisition of Mitas by Trelleborg AB have led Continental to bring back Continental brand ag tires.
Continental AG is investing close to $55 million in its agricultural tire plant in Lousado, Portugal, to produce radial Continental ag tires beginning in 2017. Some 125 jobs will be created as a result.
"With this investment, we give a clear sign that Continental is once again active as a premium manufacturer in the agricultural tire sector with our premium Continental brand,” said Nikolai Setzer, member of Continental’s executive board and head of the Tire Division. “In Lousado, we have an excellent location and a highly motivated and experienced team, which manufactures cutting-edge radial tires in a state-of-the-art production facility for the demanding agricultural sector.”
"Professional agriculture has undergone rapid change over the past few years," said Thorsten Bublitz, business line manager responsible for the agricultural tire business. "In view of the growing world population and the increasing need for agricultural crops, the number of large-scale operations and, therefore, the demand for efficient agricultural tires is increasing. This is where we have many years of experience as a premium manufacturer."
Continental intends to bring a complete tire portfolio for agricultural tractors and harvesting machines to the market, working together with the major vehicle manufacturers in the process. The range will include radial and cross-ply tires in 150 sizes.
Continental is already producing cross-ply tires for the agricultural sector in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Beside the investment in the manufacturing plant in Lousado, Continental is additionally investing nearly $2.8 million in a new Research & Development Center in Lousado. The center will do research in close cooperation with the Central Research & Development Department in Hanover, Germany, and at the start will employ five recently recruited engineers.
Continental also supplies components and systems for agricultural machines and agricultural infrastructure. The range of products extends from comprehensive instrumentation and camera solutions, to sensors, rubber tracks and conveyor belt technology, and exhaust gas treatment. In supplying this combination of components from a single source, Continental is in the position to offer agricultural companies comprehensive solutions for greater efficiency, environmental friendliness, and conservation of resources.
The investment in the radial agricultural tire sector in Lousado is part of Vision 2025, which was launched in 2011 and is used by the Tire Division for the strategic planning and systematic implementation of technological progress. Other examples include investments in the AIBA (Automated Indoor Braking Analyzer) in 2012, the ContiLifeCycle Plant for retreading truck tires and rubber recycling in Hanover-Stöcken in 2013, and the High Performance Technology Center in Korbach in 2014.