Groundbreaking held for Conti’s Hefei plant expansion
On 28 March Continental celebrated the groundbreaking of not just one, but two tyre factories. Along with the new plant in the US state of South Carolina, reported yesterday by Tyrepress.com, the company broke ground on extensions to its passenger car factory in Hefei, China. The project calls for a 134 million euro investment, and this will allow for a doubling of capacity to eight million passenger car tyres per annum. Hefei plant output includes the ContiComfortContact 5, which it began producing last year, and ContiMaxContact 5, which entered production in 2012; both of these tyres have been tailored for the Chinese market.
“This, for such new a factory, very early initiated expansion project, is strong proof of the excellence of our Hefei manufacturing team and sets the base to continue our steep growth of Hefei products in the replacement as well as in the original equipment market”, stated Continental Tires Hefei general manager Dr. Tobias Kerle.
Continental’s Hefei plant started operation in May 2011 and began supplying passenger car tyres to the domestic market and Asia with an initial annual capacity of four million units. By the end of 2012 the first phase of work at Hefei will be fully operational – a ramp up speed the tyre maker says “sets a new benchmark within the Continental Tire manufacturing landscape,” and as a role model it will use for all current and future greenfield activities. As a result of this successful, rapid ramp up, Continental decided to implement additional investment much earlier than planned. The plant’s targeted total annual production capacity is 16 million tyres.
“Asia is one of our key growth markets and our additional investment in our Hefei tyre location is a major step into this direction,” commented Burkhardt Koeller, executive vice-president controlling for Continental’s Tires division.