Michelin North America announced a $200 million expansion of its Starr, S.C., manufacturing plant to increase the company’s output of rubber compound material used to build tires in North America. The company expects the investment to create more than 100 new jobs.
The news is the latest in a string of major manufacturing commitments made by Michelin in the past 21 months. Together, these projects represent a $1.15 billion investment by Michelin in South Carolina and the creation of at least 870 new manufacturing jobs in the state.
“I am proud to say this new expansion at this facility is one of the lynchpins that will allow us to maintain Michelin’s industry leadership in providing customers with the best tires in all categories,” said Pete Selleck, chairman and president of Michelin North America. “Michelin’s continued investment in Anderson County and the state of South Carolina is a testament to our proven, high-quality workforce here. A job in manufacturing will have the spill-over effect of five to seven additional jobs created in those communities.”
Construction has begun on the Starr plant expansion, which will be adjacent to the current facility. Also nearby is Michelin’s previously announced Earthmover tire plant that is being built and scheduled to begin producing tires later this year.
Michelin said operations will begin at the expansion in 2014 and will supply material for tire production in North America, helping meet heightened overall production demands.
The Starr factory is one of two Michelin semi-finished rubber production plants in Anderson County. The company’s largest rubber-producing plant in the world is only a few miles away in Sandy Springs. Built in 1975, that facility was one of Michelin’s first manufacturing facilities in the U.S.
Michelin is South Carolina’s largest manufacturing employer. Nearly 9,000 of Michelin’s 22,000 employees in North America will be located in South Carolina when all the construction is complete. Nine of Michelin North America’s 18 production facilities are located in the state.
Michelin announced in April 2012 plans to invest $750 million and employ 500 people between its Lexington and Anderson counties’ facilities to meet the growing demand for its earthmover tires.
In December 2012, Greenville County Council approved an incentive plan for Michelin to expand there. Michelin is making investments in modernizing existing equipment and facilities within Spartanburg and Greenville counties.
Michelin continues to expand its global footprint. Last week, it announced plans for a $73 million expansion of its truck-tire plant in Nova Scotia. It has two plants starting up in China; a truck-tire plant starting up in India and its first tire plant underway in South America, located in Brazil.
“Most of our growth today is in emerging markets,” Selleck said. “Our group is investing at its highest level in history and what’s remarkable is that our financial performance is such, that even with all of the investment, we still have positive cash flow.”
Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks and motorcycles. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America employs more than 22,000 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.