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Continental plant construction 'officially' begins

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Continental Tire the Americas LLC has selected Walbridge and Mashburn Construction as the general contractor for its new tire plant in Sumter, S.C. The construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

By early 2014, the plant will manufacture passenger and light truck tires "to meet the increasing demand for Continental and General brand tires from both aftermarket business and automotive manufacturers," according to the company. When the first phase of the plant is completed in 2017, production capacity will be more than four million units per year.

The second phase will increase the plant's capacity to approximately eight million units per year by 2021.

Continental first announced plans for the plant in October 2011. The ground-breaking ceremony was held earlier this year.

Initial hiring is already underway and the company expects to hire nearly 60 people in 2012. Craig Baartman is the Sumter plant project manager.

With the Sumter investment, Continental will have invested more than $1 billion in manufacturing and product development in the United States., Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil since 2006. Continental also is expanding tire production capacity in Russia, China and Europe "to better serve global demand on a long-term basis."

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