Call it a grand opening preview. Giti Tire (USA) Ltd.'s consumer tire plant in Richburg, S.C., in Chester County will not officially open until next year, but the company and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. held a celebration on Oct. 4, 2017, in advance of the grand opening.
Giti Tire officials said the actual plant grand opening event will be held in 2018. Tire dealer and OEM customers, as well as local community leaders, will be invited to the official plant dedication.
Giti is investing $560 million in the plant, which will produce not only the Dextero brand (specifically the DHT2 and Touring DTR1) for Walmart, but also, starting next year, the Giti brand (not to be confused with the GT Radial brand) for the North American market.
The Giti brand, the global flagship brand for Giti Tire, will be introduced in the U.S. in 2018 and will be produced at the plant. The GT Radial brand, which has been sold through U.S. independent dealers for many years, will also be produced at the plant. The Giti brand will be sold through multiple channels, including independent dealers.
Most of the Dextero tires for Walmart are made in the Giti Tire Group's Indonesia plant. Eventually, 100% of the Dextero tires for Walmart will be produced in the U.S. plant.
Production at the Giti Manufacturing (USA) Ltd. facility already has begun; by the end of the year, the Giti plant will have manufactured at least 200,000 Dextero-brand tires for Walmart. At full capacity, the plant will be able to produce 5 million tires a year.
A Giti spokesperson said by the end of 2018, 1,000 people will be employed at the plant; when Phase One of the construction is completed, some 1,700 people will be employed.
Giti has been working closely with York Technical College in Rock Hill, S.C., to recruit graduating students and to train and educate the local workforce, for the types of jobs required by the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The company also has initiated a Math & Science Award program with the Chester County School District "to get children passionate about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and better prepare our children for the future."
"Walmart's commitment to American jobs is having a tangible impact on communities across America, including South Carolina," said Henry McMaster, governor of South Carolina.
"By investing in products that support American jobs, we are able to bring new products to our shelves that our customers want and new jobs to the communities we serve," said Greg Foran, CEO and president of Walmart. "Increasing domestic manufacturing will help create additional jobs in the U.S., and that's good for American businesses."
Walmart said based on data from Boston Consulting Group, 1 million new U.S. jobs will be created through Walmart's American Jobs Initiative.