SUMTER, S.C.—Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. has broken ground on a $500 million expansion of its nearly 2-year-old Sumter plant that will double annual capacity to 8 million passenger and light truck tires by 2021.
The expansion, part of Conti's original plans for the factory, will create up to 800 jobs at the plant, where employment is expected to reach 800 by year end, Conti said.
“This announcement celebrates Continental's trust in the Sumter facility to continue delivering quality products to our customers,” said Continental Tire CEO Jochen Etzel, who acknowledged the “sustained support” of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, the state of South Carolina, the Ports Authority, Sumter County and the city of Sumter in Conti's growing presence in the Palmetto state.
The Sumter plant produces both Continental- and General-brand tires for the original equipment and replacement markets, Conti said.
Continental named Kajima Building & Design Group Inc. of Atlanta as general contractor of the projected nine-month construction project.
The expansion will add approximately 720,000 square feet to the Sumter site, including the new production hall and expanded warehouses for raw materials and finished goods.
The existing plant covers 1 million square feet, Conti said. The finished goods warehouse will be expanded to nearly one and a half times its original size.
“We couldn't be more grateful for Continental's continued commitment to its facility in Sumter and to our state,” Gov. Haley said in a prepared statement.
“Our work force has proven to Continental, and to the entire world, that when you invest in South Carolina and ask us to make your products, we're going to make them well.”
Haley added that South Carolina is the No. 1 tire-producing state in the U.S.
Continental continues to partner with readySC and local technical colleges to assist with staffing and training interested candidates and to develop tailored apprenticeship programs for mechatronics and production positions in the facility.
This latest investment is in addition to more than $1.5 billion Conti has committed in the past five years for manufacturing, technology, facilities and product development in the U.S.
Sumter County Council Chair Naomi Sanders noted that the council worked with the state's economic development team and Haley's administration to created a “win-win for the county and the company.”
“We appreciate our industrial partners, and this expansion creates further economic investment and job opportunities for our citizens,” she added. “Economic development is and will always be a priority for county council now and in the future.”