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Continental Tire the Americas Plans to Invest More Than $500 Million to Build New Plant

Continental Tire the Americas, LLC (CTA) announced that it will build an all-new tire plant in Sumter, S.C. to meet growing demand from both the retail level and automotive manufacturers. The first phase of production capacity at the plant in this project is expected to be nearly five million passenger and light truck tires when the plant reaches full production levels in 2017. A second phase in this announced project is expected to bring the plant’s capacity to eight million units per year by 2021. Altogether, those initial phases of the project involve an investment of more than $500 million and the creation of more than 1,600 jobs.

“This important announcement is part of Continental’s growth strategy worldwide and, especially in this case, for the U.S. market,” said Nikolai Setzer, member of Continental’s Executive Board and head of Continental’s global tire business. “Increasing demand for Continental and General brand passenger and light truck tires in the U.S., as well as the improved business results for CTA, has made this significant investment possible. On behalf of the 160,000 employees of Continental worldwide, I would like to offer our sincere thanks to Governor Haley, the state of South Carolina, the Port Authority, the city of Sumter and Sumter County.”

CTA’s business growth is highlighted by an annual growth rate of 20 percent in volume for the passenger and light truck tire business in the Americas region in the past two years.

The new manufacturing facility will be located at a Greenfield site off of U.S. Highway 521 in Sumter County.

The announcement was made at a news conference today in Sumter at the Opera House. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt and Greg A. Thompson, Chairman of the Sumter Development Board, joined Setzer and Jochen Etzel, CEO of Continental Tire the Americas, in sharing the good news.
“Continental is a world-class company, and it is truly exciting that they have chosen South Carolina for this new $500 million investment that will create nearly 1,700 new jobs. This announcement is a big win for our state,” said Governor Haley.

“Today’s announcement would not have been possible without the strong support of the state of South Carolina, Governor Haley and Secretary Hitt,” said Etzel. “South Carolina offered us the most compelling business climate that allows us to create these jobs with competitive pay and benefits for the people of this great state.”
“Our customers – replacement market retailers and automakers – have told us they need more Continental and General brand tires,” Etzel said. “Today’s announcement is our commitment to helping them grow their business – as we grow ours. In 2011 alone, we have announced manufacturing investments of nearly $1 billion which are dedicated to increasing our production capacity in the Americas region.”

“In addition to the Greenfield announcement, we are also announcing an investment of more than $4 million in our Lancaster County, S.C. headquarters to help meet the needs of our growing workforce. We are looking forward to welcoming 1,700 more people to the Continental family starting very soon.”
Lancaster County – $4 million investment, 80 jobs

CTA’s headquarters in Lancaster County is home to more than 350 employees. The building opened in 2009. Due to the significant growth in the CTA business, Continental has been hiring additional employees at a steady pace. The investment will provide for a 16,000 square foot addition, bringing the total size of the building to 91,000 square feet. The investment also includes the creation of 80 new jobs over the next four years.

Details about CTA’s Greenfield Project
State, local and federal programs will provide financial assistance that is instrumental in bringing this project to the United States and to Sumter. The next step in moving the project forward will be entering into definitive agreements for these programs.

Continental expects to begin construction of the plant in mid-2012 and complete the facility in 2013. Other important details about the project:

The plant project is expected to create more than 1,600 jobs.
The site is approximately 330 acres and the building is planned to be more than 1,000,000 square feet.
The facility will plan to produce eight million passenger and light truck tires annually by the completion of its initial phases.
The facility will produce tires for the replacement tire market and automakers.
Total hiring will be 1,700 in the state of South Carolina, including the headquarter expansion.
Final hiring should be completed by 2020.

“Today’s announcement further strengthens South Carolina’s membership in the automotive club. This is also the fourth announcement this year involving the recruitment of 500 or more jobs,” said Hitt.

“Somehow the word ‘big’ just doesn’t seem big enough. In a matter of a few short years, this new facility will go from an idea to one of the largest economic drivers in our community. At more than $500 million, it’s the largest industrial investment the county has ever seen. And at 1,600 jobs, it will have an impact not only on Sumter County and its people, but on workers and families throughout the region,” said Greg A. Thompson, chairman of the Sumter Economic Development Board. “We welcome Continental Tire to Sumter County, and we couldn’t be more excited about both its future and our own.”

Significant Investment and Expansion News for the Americas
In March 2011, CTA announced a $220 million investment to expand production capacity at its tire plant located in Camacari, Bahia, Brazil. The investment will create 400 new jobs and double capacity in the plant.

In May, 2011, the company announced that it was investing $224 million – and adding 444 new jobs – in its Mt. Vernon, Ill. tire plant. Another element of the CTA growth strategy, this investment will increase capacity by nearly four million tires at Mt. Vernon.

About Continental Corporation
With sales of EUR 26 billion in 2010, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has close to 160,000 employees in 45 countries.

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