AKRON (April 11, 2012)—The “Rubber State?” South Carolina, a fact solidified by Michelin North America Inc.'s decision to invest another $750 million in the state.
The tire industry in the past year has earmarked nearly $2.2 billion in capital expenditures in the state, which already ranks as the No. 1 tire-producing state in the U.S.
Michelin's investment—for a new OTR tire plant and expansion of existing OTR tire capacities—is on top of Bridgestone Americas' commitment of nearly $1 billion for a new OTR tire plant and expanded car/light truck capacity in Aiken and Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C.'s $500 million investment in a car/light truck tire plant in Sumter.
The projects stand to create up to 1,630 jobs by the time Conti's first phase is at full capacity in 2017.
Michelin by far is the industry's largest participant in South Carolina, with four tire plants, two rubber mixing/calendering units, its headquarters, a research-and-development campus and a test track, employing more than 7,700 in the state.
Bridgestone employs 900 at its car/light truck tire plant in Graniteville and expects the new OTR tire plant to create about 330 jobs.
By the time these new plants and expansions are on stream a few years from now, the three firms collectively will be churning out more than 120,000 tires daily at eight factories throughout the state.
The state also has a growing supply base, including Performance Fibers with a polyester tire cord plant in Winnsboro and DuPont Performance Technologies with a Kevlar aramid fiber unit in Cooper River.
In addition, Clemson University organizes the annual Clemson Tire Industry Conference and operates the International Center for Automotive Research, supported by Michelin and other automotive suppliers.