Continental AG plans to build its sixth tire production plant in the Asia Pacific region, and its first in Thailand. The construction of the plant is to begin later this year, and production will start in 2019.
By 2022 Continental says the plant in the Province of Rayong will produce about 4 million passenger and light truck tires a year. The company is investing 250 million euro.
“The investment in Thailand is another major step in realizing the ambitious growth plans of our Vision 2025 by further improving the balance of our global manufacturing footprint and enhancing our position as one of the technologically leading tire manufacturers worldwide," says Nikolai Setzer, a member of Continental's executive board in charge of the tire division. "One important pillar of our long-term strategy is to operate with an agile and flexible set-up that enables us to react fast to the market requirements, establish further production capacities in the growth region (Asia Pacific) and to strongly support our Asia Pacific growth plans with high-tech production capabilities."
Philipp von Hirschheydt, head of the replacement passenger and light truck tires in the region says,“With the decision to build our new tire site in Thailand we will strengthen our presence in both the Thai market and the rest of the APAC region. This plant will strongly support our planned business growth in both original equipment and replacement business for passenger and light truck tires and further establish our customer relations in both segments. We want to benefit from the growth potential in this region in the replacement market and are confident that our local production will also enable a closer cooperation with new customers to further extend our position in these markets."
Michael Egner, the project manager for greenfield projects in the region, says the site selection process is complex, and guided by both infrastructure, such as workforce and access to educational institutions, but also the proximity to Continental's markets and customers. “The Thailand government as well as several local institutions have been a very supportive partner during the entire selection process, therefore we want to express our sincere appreciation. Now we are looking forward to a fruitful and successful long-term cooperation."
The site is 140 km (about 87 miles) from Bangkok, and is 60 km (about 37 miles) from a deep-sea port in Laem Chabang.
The size of the site is about 750,000 squared-meters (more than 185 acres) which potentially allows an expansion to up to 25 million tires capacity per year.
The plant in Rayong, Thailand, will add to these existing Asia Pacific tire production facilities: Hefei (China), Alor Setar (Malaysia), Petaling Jaya (Malaysia), Modipuram (India) and Kalutara (Sri Lanka).