Increased capacity and 444 new jobs – Conti confirms US plant investment
In response to growing demand for Continental and General Tire brand passenger car and van tyres in Northern and South America, Continental Tire the Americas (CTA) has announced plans to invest US$224 million increasing capacity at its Mt. Vernon, Illinois factory. Following the recent signing of various contracts by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, details of the investment were unveiled at a press conference at the plant on May 12; a key announcement was the creation of 444 new full-time positions over the coming four years.
“Today’s announcement would not have been possible without the support of the states of Illinois,” shared CTA CEO Matthias Schönberg. “The state has been a strong partner and offered attractive competitive incentives to create these well-paying jobs with excellent benefits for the new employees in Illinois. At present, Continental Tire the Americas is experiencing significant growth in demand for its tyres throughout the entire region. Adding production capacity to meet this regional demand was a very important step in the context of our global growth strategy. In total the turnover of products in the Americas region has increased more than 12 per cent in the last two years.”
Continental will complete this investment over the next three years. Of the announced $224 million, $171 million will be directed for new machinery and equipment, and $53 million will be directed for building and infrastructure. The Mt. Vernon plant capacity will increase by nearly four million tyres per year. “Including today’s announcement, CTA has invested nearly $500 million in this facility since 2006 to increase production of passenger and commercial truck tyres because our employees here have proven their dedication to successfully meeting the ongoing challenges in our industry,” said Benny Harmse, vice-president of manufacturing in Mt. Vernon. “This significant investment is a reflection of CTA’s ongoing commitment to the city of Mt. Vernon and the state of Illinois and recognition of the superior work being done here by our highly skilled team.”
Employment at the plant has grown by 430 jobs since 2006, bringing the current plant employment to 2,588. The additional 444 new full-time jobs will bring total plant employment to nearly 3,000 in the next three years. “Continental has a significant direct employment base in Illinois that relies heavily on the success of this company for their livelihood,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity director Warren Ribley. “This assistance reinforces our commitment to this company and helps ensures the nearly 3,000 estimated individuals who are employed through Continental can continue to have good-paying, sustainable employment.”
Further regional investment
The May 12 announcement adds to two additional Continental projects in the Americas. In March 2011, CTA shared plans to invest $210 million in expanding production capacity at its tyre plant in Camacari, Brazil, a project that will create 400 new jobs and double plant. The following month, the company announced the approval of funding for a greenfield tyre plant in North America; Continental called this “another major element” of its growth strategy in the Americas.
“While we don’t have any details to share at this time regarding the potential new plant in North America, we hope to have an announcement to make later this year,” Schönberg said. “With all this activity in the region I am confident that Continental Tire the Americas will continue on this successful path of providing our customers in North and South America with a broad selection of outstanding tyres for their cars and trucks.”