MOUNT VERNON, Ill.—Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. plans to boost capacity for truck tires at its Mount Vernon plant by mid-2015 as part of a $129 million investment at the sprawling car and truck tire manufacturing complex in southern Illinois.
The project will boost annual capacity to more than 3 million units—including new building capacity for wide-base single truck tires—and create more than 100 jobs, Conti said. The firm said truck tire production following the expansion will grow to 3.2 million units, according to Plant Manager Benny Harmse. The plant size will be increased a total of 200,000 square feet.
This expansion, which gives Conti its first North American capacity for wide-base truck tires, raises to $615 million the amount Conti has committed to Mount Vernon since 2006. Conti is just now putting the finishing touches on a $224 million investment/expansion at Mount Vernon announced in May 2011.
Among the reasons Conti cited for making the investment are rising demand for Continental- and General-brand truck tires, the need to manage complexity better and “emerging technologies” in tire production.
Expanding truck tire capacity enhances Conti's “capabilities for advanced technologies and (increases) our ability to anticipate the market demands of the future,” said Paul Williams, executive vice president, truck tires–the Americas. “This investment is further commitment to Continental's strategy for growth in the Americas.”
The expansion will cover installing a new rubber mixer to support the additional tire production and new equipment for emerging tire technologies, including wide-base truck tires, Conti said, without elaborating on what “emerging technologies” means.
The investment includes $34 million to cover technology and equipment for rubber mixing and a warehouse expansion.
“Our research and development engineers for the Americas, working at our Truck Tire Technology Center in Mount Vernon, have developed tires and technologies for a complete lifecycle solution that begins with excellence in new tire production.” Williams said. “In turn, our customers have responded with increased demand for our tires.”
The truck tire investment will create more than 80 new full-time positions, while the mixing and warehouse expansions will require more than 30 new jobs, the latter of which should be on board during 2014. Employment at the plant is roughly 3,000, including 350 or so hired in relation to the 2011 expansion project.
“Our employees and the Mount Vernon community make our continued success possible, and we hope these investments demonstrate our appreciation and dedication to them,” Harmse said.