HEFEI, China—Continental A.G. has inaugurated production at the Phase III expansion of its six-year-old tire plant in Hefei, a project designed to boost capacity there 75 percent by 2019.
Conti budgeted $272 million for the expansion, which will boost annual capacity to 14 million car and light truck tires and nearly double employment to 2,700 workers.
This latest expansion "takes us a step closer to our long-term 'Vision 2025' strategy and will see us further improve the balance of our global manufacturing footprint," said Nikolai Setzer, head of Conti's Tire Division a an executive board member.
"We regard the Asia Pacific region, especially the China market, as the company's main growth engine for the upcoming years. This large-scale expansion once again represents our confidence and commitment to the China market."
Philipp von Hirschheydt, executive vice president, PLT replacement tires, Asia/Pacific, added: "The…expansion further enhances our leading position in both the China market and the rest of the APAC region. We are convinced that this expansion will enable us to meet the increasing demand of the booming demand for tires in China.
"Looking ahead, we will continue to invest in the APAC region to fully utilize the growth opportunities in this region," he said without disclosing specific growth targets.
As part of its commitment to the China market, Conti opened a research and development test center in 2015. In 2016, the firm opened a training center for the APAC region.
Hefei Plant Manager Jeff Wang said the commissioning of this expansion "is a testament to the strength of our existing relationships in the marketplace, nurtured over the course of a decade."