SUMTER, S.C. (Oct. 6, 2011) — Continental Tire the Americas will invest more than $500 million over 10 years to build a passenger and light truck tire plant near Sumter to meet what it said is growing demand from both the retail and OE sectors for Continental- and General-brand tires in the U.S. and the Americas.
The greenfield plant—located at a site off of U.S. Highway 521 in Sumter County—will create about 1,700 jobs, Continental said, including 80 positions related to an investment of more than $4 million to expand the tire maker's Lancaster County, S.C., headquarters.
The first phase of production capacity at the Sumter factory is expected to be nearly 5 million passenger and light truck tires by the time the plant reaches full production levels in 2017.
Continental said a second phase in the project is expected to raise the plant's capacity to 8 million units per year by 2021.
During a press conference this afternoon at the Opera House in Sumter announcing the plant, Nikolai Setzer, a member of Continental's Executive Board and head of Continental's global tire business, called the project a “part of Continental's growth strategy worldwide and, especially in this case, for the U.S. market. Increasing demand for Continental and General brand passenger and light truck tires in the U.S., as well as the improved business results for CTA, has made this significant investment possible.”
On behalf of the tire maker's 160,000 employees worldwide, Setzer thanked South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as well as the (Charleston) Port Authority, the city of Sumter and Sumter County.
Continental said its business growth is “highlighted by an annual growth rate of 20 percent in volume for the passenger and light truck tire business in the Americas region in the past two years.”
“Continental is a world-class company, and it is truly exciting that they have chosen South Carolina for this new $500 million investment that will create nearly 1,700 new jobs. This announcement is a big win for our state,” Gov. Haley said.
“Today's announcement would not have been possible without the strong support of the state of South Carolina, Governor Haley and Secretary Hitt,” said CEO of Continental Jochen Etzel. “South Carolina offered us the most compelling business climate that allows us to create these jobs with competitive pay and benefits for the people of this great state.”
“Our customers—replacement market retailers and auto makers—have told us they need more Continental and General brand tires,” he said. “Today's announcement is our commitment to helping them grow their business—as we grow ours. In 2011 alone, we have announced manufacturing investments of nearly $1 billion which are dedicated to increasing our production capacity in the Americas region.”
Conti did not elaborate on financial, infrastructure and/or training support it may receive from state and/or local authorities.