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Continental Tire to expand Sumter plant, add 900 jobs

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The numbered areas in white represent some 720,000 square feet of new construction that was announced Wednesday at Continental Tire’s Sumter plant. (Image/Provided)The numbered areas in white represent some 720,000 square feet of new construction that was announced Wednesday at Continental Tire’s Sumter plant. (Image/Provided)

Staff Report
colanews@scbiznews.com
Published Sept. 10, 2015

Continental Tire broke ground Wednesday on a major expansion at its Sumter plant that’s projected to double annual production capacity to about 8 million tires and add about 900 jobs to the local workforce.

"This announcement celebrates Continental's trust in the Sumter facility to continue delivering quality products to our customers," said Jochen Etzel, CEO of Fort Mill-based Continental Tire the Americas. "We extend our thanks for the sustained support from Gov. Haley, the state of South Carolina, the Ports Authority, Sumter County and the city of Sumter."

The plant is expected to produce 4 million tires by 2016. In addition, the number of jobs at the Sumter plant will climb to 1,600 from the current total of 700, Continental said. The company added that it’s aiming to have 800 workers on the payroll by the end of 2015.

Continental plans to grow the Sumter workforce by 900 people to a total of 1,600 by 2021. (Photo/Provided)Continental plans to grow the Sumter workforce by 900 people to a total of 1,600 by 2021. (Photo/Provided)
Tires produced at the Sumter plant will help meet the increasing demand for Continental and General brand tires from both aftermarket business and automotive manufacturers, the company said.

Continental, which began production in the existing 1 million-square-foot plant in October 2013, said the second phase of construction is expected to bring the plant’s production to full capacity of 8 million tires by 2021.

Continental said the second phase will total about 720,000 square feet and include a new production hall and expanded warehouses for raw materials and finished goods. The finished goods warehouse will be nearly 1 1/2 times its original size.

"We appreciate our industrial partners, and this expansion creates further economic investment and job opportunities for our citizens. Economic development is and will always be a priority for County Council now and in the future," said Sumter County Council Chairwoman Naomi Sanders.

Additionally, Continental named Atlanta-based Kajima Building & Design Group Inc. as general contractor of the projected nine-month construction project. Continental also has partnered with SSOE, headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, to begin the design work.

With the expansion, Continental said it has met the total projected investment of more than $500 million announced in October 2011.

"We couldn't be more grateful for Continental's continued commitment to its facility in Sumter and to our state," Gov. Nikki Haley said. "Our workforce has proven to Continental, and to the entire world, that when you invest in South Carolina and ask us to make your products, we're going to make them well. Continental is a huge reason our state produces more tires than any other state in the country, and we're excited to celebrate a bright future for the partnership between South Carolina and this great company."

Continental continues to partner with readySC and local technical colleges to assist with staffing and training interested candidates and to develop tailored apprenticeship programs for mechatronics and production positions in the facility.

"On Oct. 6, 2011, we announced the largest single private sector investment in Sumter's storied past, and this is again a momentous day,” Sumter Mayor Joe McElveen said. “We appreciate the continued confidence this company has in our community, and it is a testament to the resilience of this community that continues to improve and become a great place to live, work and conduct business."

Continental is one of the world's leading tire manufacturers, with more than 47,000 employees. The company’s tire division recorded sales of 9.8 billion euros (approximately $11 billion) in 2014.

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