Continental Tire the Americas LLC (CTA) held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new tire plant in Sumter, S.C.
The ceremony was attended by state and local governmental officials and marked the beginning of the construction process, which 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, the company says.
The first phase of the plant will reach a production capacity of approximately five million units per year in 2017. A second phase in this announced project is expected to bring the plant's full production capacity to approximately eight million units per year by 2021.
The new site comprises approximately 330 acres and a one million-square-foot production facility.
Altogether, CTA will invest more than $500 million into the Sumter plant and create about 1,600 new jobs.
Jochen Etzel, CEO of Continental Tire the Americas, says the Sumter location was compelling because of its business climate, the availability of a skilled workforce, its proximity to harbors and the engagement of state officials who worked diligently with the company to make the plan possible.
Nikolai Setzer, member of Continental's Executive Board and head of Continental's global tire business, explained, "building this new facility in Sumter is an important part of Continental's growth strategy worldwide and, in this case, in particular for the U.S. market. We are experiencing an increasing demand for Continental and General brand passenger and light truck tires in the U.S. and with the Sumter plant we can meet our customer's needs and can grow our business. This $500 million investment is our very clear commitment to our customers."
With the Sumter investment, CTA will have invested more than $1 billion in manufacturing and product development in the U.S., Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil since 2006.
Aside from the U.S., Continental is currently expanding production capacity also in Russia, China and Europe to better serve global demand on a long-term basis.