CTNA Putting Up to $100 Million into Mount Vernon
Having closed its unionised tyre plant in Mayfield, Kentucky, and all but closed its unionised Charlotte tyre plant, Continental Tire North America (CTNA) has turned its attention to upgrading its non-union plant in Mount Vernon, Illinois. Last week, CTNA announced a three-year, $70 million to $100 million capital investment programme for the facility – the only dedicated and operating tyre plant CTNA owns in North America.
Alan Hippe, CTNA president and CEO, said the expansion plans include at least a new warehouse and a number of unnamed projects. But he did not give details of the projects or the exact number of jobs that will be created at the site.
“Seven months ago I made a promise to all of you that if Mt. Vernon employees and the Mt. Vernon community would invest in CTNA’s future, the company would invest in theirs,” said Hippe. “Make no mistake about it: I would not keep coming here, and CTNA would not invest its capital dollars here, if we didn’t see a long, long future for the Mt. Vernon facility. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but I believe that if we continue to work together, the Mt. Vernon plant will have a bright and prosperous future.”
This past January, CTNA cut wages for Mt. Vernon workers by 10 per cent and increased their contribution for medical insurance coverage, reducing plant costs by some 23 per cent, according to reports. At the same time, Hippe said the company would invest in the plant, including a new tandem mixer that is currently being installed there.
The 250,000-square-foot warehouse expansion will allow for an additional 150,000 tyres, he said, and other 2006 projects include upgraded equipment across the plant.
Hippe also said CTNA has launched a three-year plan to “increase product offerings and improve product mix in the light truck and high performance tyre market sectors.” He said CTNA will introduce “more than 500 new or expanded tyre products” in that timeframe.
In addition to its solely owned factory, CTNA also runs a joint venture truck tyre plant in Mt. Vernon in cooperation with Japanese manufacturers Toyo and Yokohama.