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New Michelin plant: production in 2013

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Following Michelin North America Inc.’s announcement of a new plant in South Carolina today, as well as an expansion of its Lexington plant, the company conducted a media briefing.

“This is a very exciting day for our Michelin employees here in North America, our company and the state of South Carolina,” said Roger Lucas, vice president, marketing and sales, Earthmover Tires NA.

“This news is a proud endorsement of South Carolina and North America that says Michelin is confident in our business environment in this state and this country. We remain very confident in our ability to expand and grow.”

Modern Tire Dealer Senior Editor Bob Bissler was on hand to present several questions.

MTD: What percentage of the production at the new plant is going to be for export?

Lucas: As far as the allocation of products today, we don’t have those figures. We are in the process of working with the customer base in our facilities in Australia, in South America, Europe and here. As we start to learn more about the production capacities in that customer base, we will be able to expand more upon that.

MTD: What sizes are you going to produce?

Rich Kornacki, executive vice president of Specialty Tire Lines, Michelin NA: These will predominantly be the large earthmoving tires mainly for the mining market, but also for our other segments.

MTD: Will you be making anything bigger than 63 inches?

Lucas: No.

MTD: The two projects will create 500 new jobs; will those be permanent, full-time jobs?

Kornacki: We believe that those will be permanent, full-time employment jobs with Michelin.

MTD: Are you going to make the same tire sizes and the new plant and the expanded Lexington plant?

Lucas: We haven’t broken down the dimensions, such as 49-inch and above, but as far as the exact makeup that we’ll have at each one of the particular plants, that’s to be analyzed for future production schedules.

Kornacki: Any time we expand our facilities or we put a new facility in, that’s added capacity into the market, however we choose to make those dimensions and at what facilities. It’s just great news for everybody.

Lucas added that Michelin has a very aggressive time frame on the project.

“We will be breaking ground within the next couple of weeks, with the production to come on line at the end of next year,” he said.

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