Rising demand prompts Michelin US factory expansion
A further US$200 million is being invested in Michelin North America’s factory in Lexington, South Carolina in order to accommodate growing regional demand for passenger tyres. Work on expanding capacity at the Lexington site will begin immediately and equipment for this latest project, which adds to the more than $1 billion invested in the site since its establishment in 1981, will be installed by the first half of 2013. Michelin North America reports that 270 new jobs will be created at the Lexington factory and phased in over the coming two years.
Announcing the planned capacity expansion, Michelin North America chairman and president Dick Wilkerson commented: “Trusted for its quality and value, the Michelin brand was quite resilient during the recent economic crisis. As the economy turned, demand for our tyres increased dramatically. We must have additional capacity for high performance passenger car tyres to meet our customers’ needs. We’re thrilled that the expansion will be in our home state of South Carolina. The Lexington County Council and the state of South Carolina have been effective partners with us, working to make this expansion and the new jobs that support it a reality.”
At present 1,360 people are employed at the 1.2 million square foot (111,500 square metre) Lexington passenger car and light truck tyre facility. An adjacent earthmover tyre production site employs a further 475 people within an 825,000 square foot facility. As would be expected, local officials welcome the announcement of increased investment in the plant. “Michelin has been an important part of the Midlands business community for decades and we celebrate the company’s decision to increase its presence in South Carolina,” said state Governor Nikki Haley. “This announcement not only shows the company’s commitment to our state, but that we are doing right things to help South Carolina’s existing businesses grow. We look forward to Michelin’s continued growth in South Carolina.”
“Michelin is a world-class company and we are excited the company will expand operations in Lexington County,” added Bobby Hitt, South Carolina’s Secretary of Commerce. “Manufacturing continues to play a key role in South Carolina’s economy, and today’s announcement is another indication that our state’s business-friendly climate is working to attract investment from manufacturing companies and create jobs.” Lexington County Council chairman stated that “today we are pleased to be able to celebrate this milestone achievement by Michelin North America. We are extremely delighted to have them in Lexington County and wish them continued success. We applaud them for their 30 year commitment to this community and for their level of investment.”