CLINTON, Miss.—Continental A.G. staged a ceremonial grand opening Oct. 17 for its $1.4 billion truck tire plant in Clinton, although production isn't scheduled to begin until early 2020.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Christian Koetz, head of Continental's Tire Division, were on hand at the ceremony, along with 300 guests, including state and local officials, community members, customers and suppliers and 250 Continental employees.
"The completion of our new tire plant signifies a major step in our global long-term growth strategy for Continental Tires, called Vision 2025," Koetz said at the grand-opening ceremony.
"Mississippi is a critical part of this strategy, providing the best options for us to grow the tire business in the Americas region. We plan to grow here together with our amazing team in Clinton and we appreciate the strong support we have received from all involved."
"Mississippi … looks forward to many years of job creation and synergy" with Continental, Bryant said. "This advanced facility helps position our state and our people as champions of manufacturing excellence."
Continental broke ground in November 2016 on the 840,000-sq.-ft. plant, which is projected to produce 750,000 truck and bus tires annually in the first phase, Conti said, starting with approximately 500 employees.
The full projected employment of 2,500 won't be reached until 2028.
The new plant—the first factory Conti has built that's dedicated to truck tires—is located on a 1,000-acre greenfield site in Hinds County, approximately two miles west of Clinton and 20 miles northwest of Jackson.
Paul Williams, Conti's executive vice president of Commercial Vehicle Tires for the Americas, said the addition of this plant will help Conti satisfy the "tremendous growth" it's experiencing for its truck/bus tires.
"The state of Mississippi, Hinds County and the City of Clinton have been outstanding partners to help us create this facility," he added, "which will provide excellent jobs for the years and decades to come."
The factory is Conti's third tire plant in the U.S. and second with truck tire capacity. Its others are in Mount Vernon, Ill., and Sumter, S.C.
The opening of this factory comes just a few weeks after Conti announced it is phasing out the production of truck tires at a plant in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, as part of a corporatewide restructing that will impact 20,000 jobs.
Operational since 1963 and acquired by Conti in 2003, the Malaysian plant will continue to make agricultural, earthmover and industrial tires.