Continental Plant in South Carolina Officially Open - Tire Review Magazine

Continental Plant in South Carolina Officially Open

Continental Tire the Americas hosts ceremony to mark end of plant construction period of S.C. plant.

Continental Tire the Americas celebrated the grand opening of its plant in Sumter, S.C. yesterday. The ceremony marked the completion of the first phase of the construction process and the beginning of tire manufacturing. The tires produced at the Sumter plant will help meet the demand for passenger and light truck Continental and General brand tires from both aftermarket business and automotive manufacturers.

Sumter Plant Manager Craig Baartman

The first phase of the plant will reach a production capacity of approximately five million units per year in 2017. A second phase is expected to bring the plant’s full production capacity to approximately eight million units per year by 2021. Altogether, CTA will invest more than $500 million into the Sumter plant and create about 1,600 new jobs.

“The southeast for Continental is an important market. We have lots of dealers asking for our tires,” said Nikolai Setzer, member of Continental’s executive board and head of Continental’s global tire business. “The Sumter plant reduces the time to the dealer and customers.”

The Sumter plant also plays a role in Continental’s Vision 2025 plan. 

“We have agreed on a growth plan budget of $1.3 billion USD,” added Setzer. “We decided to accelerate our growth in Russia, Brazil, India and China. Out of the $1.3 billion, $500 million will be allocated for Sumter by 2021. The U.S. is a pillar for our growth in the passenger, as well as the truck market.” 

The plant is built on a 500-acre tract of land. Construction began in June 2012 and production was originally scheduled to begin in January 2014, but the plant received corporate approval to begin three months ahead of schedule in October 2013. More than $100 million were awarded to South Carolina vendors in the construction of this plant.

The Sumter plant will allow Continental to service U.S. tire dealers more effectively.

“We currently import a lot of our product from Europe,” said Craig Baartman, Sumter plant manager. “Now, we have the flexibility for the local market with the emphasis on this facility being the eastern supplier of solely the U.S. market.”

Among those presenting at the event event were Jochen Etzel, CEO of CTA, Peter Ammon, German ambassador to the U.S., and Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley.

 

To date, approximately 400 employees have been hired in Sumter. It is expected that the plant will have a total employment level of 570 at the end of 2014. Total employment is expected to reach 1,600. Continental has partnered with readySC’s local Technical Colleges to assist with staffing and training interested candidates.

With the Sumter investment, CTA will have invested more than $1.85 billion in manufacturing, technology, facilities and product development in the U.S., Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil since 2005. Aside from the U.S., Continental is currently expanding production capacity also in Russia, China and Europe to better serve global demand on a long-term basis.

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