Michelin opens second Tigar Tyres plant, says more entry-level investment possible

The second Tigar Tyres plant in Pirot, Serbia is now open. An official inauguration was held at the facility on 9 October, and this culminated in Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Jean-Dominique Senard, CEO of parent company the Michelin Group, signing the first tyre to roll off the production line. The inauguration marked the completion of the first part of two-phase project. Investment has so far reached €215 million, and the 56,000 square metre facility will be capable of producing between 8 million and 12 million tyres in its phase one incarnation. Some 500 people will be employed at the new plant, increasing the Tigar workforce to around 2,600 to 2,700.

A second phase of investment will see a further €165 million spent to increase passenger car tyre capacity at the plant from 12 million to 20 million units a year. When phase two work is complete, the Tigar site in Pirot will become the second largest Michelin facility in Europe. The Pirot site produces car, light commercial vehicle and two-wheeler tyres under the Michelin, Tigar, Riken, Kormoran, Orium, Strial and Taurus brand names.

Further entry-level investments?

When Michelin announced its plan to expand capacity in Pirot back in April 2012, it said the investment project was “in line with Michelin’s growth strategy as it enables the Group to strengthen its offering of entry-level tyres.” It commented that this particular tyre market segment was expected to grow by 30 per cent globally over the coming ten years.

In addition to its flagship brand, Michelin is already amply represented in the tier two and tier three segments of the market by its Kleber, Tigar, BFGoodrich, Kormoran, Riken, Taurus and Warrior (manufactured in China by joint venture facility Double Coin Group (Anhui) Warrior Tires Co) brand names. However it seems there may still be room for another brand at the lower end of the spectrum. Speaking with FranceInfo last week, Jean-Dominique Senard commented that Michelin may consider adding a new entry-level brand in the Asia region if a suitable opportunity arises.

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