The project is expected to create 444 new full-time jobs to be filled within the next three years as part of the company’s comprehensive global growth strategy for its tire operations.
“Illinois offered us competitive incentives to create these well-paying jobs with excellent benefits for the people in southern Illinois,” says CEO Matthias Schoenberg. He cites the passage last week of the Land of Lincoln’s Senate Bill 4 as being key to accomplishing the deal.
“Creating jobs and encouraging investment in Illinois is strengthening our state's economic recovery,” says Gov. Pat Quinn, who signed the legislation into law. “Continental’s decision to invest in Mt. Vernon will create jobs and make a lasting impact throughout this region, leading to further private-sector growth and economic development.”
Of the $224 million destined for the project, $171 million will be for new machinery and equipment, and $53 million will apply toward building and infrastructure; plant capacity will increase by nearly 4 million tires per year.
The heightened capacity planned for passenger and light truck tires division is being also replicated by the commercial vehicle tire division, which is increasing capacity in Mt. Vernon by 15 percent, bringing capacity to 3.15 million tires per year by December 2012. The first 5 percent increase has already been achieved.
"This significant investment is a reflection of (the company’s) ongoing commitment to the city of Mt. Vernon and the state of Illinois and recognition of the superior work being done here by our highly skilled team,” says Benny Harmse, the facility’s vice president of manufacturing.
Employment at the plant has grown by about 400 jobs since 2006, bringing the current plant employment to more than 2,500. The additional 444 jobs will bring total plant employment to nearly 3,000 in the next three years.
The firm “is experiencing significant growth and demand for its tires throughout the region,” says Schoenberg. “Adding production capacity to meet this demand was essential. And, the Mt. Vernon employees earned this investment as they continue to prove that they are competitive on a global level.”
The business growth is highlighted by a nearly 7 percent increase in total volume for the passenger and light truck tire business in the Americas region within the past three years, leading to significantly increased profitability across the region.
In March Continental announced a $210 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 April the company announced that funding was approved for a greenfield tire plant in North America – another major element of Continental’s comprehensive growth strategy in the Americas.
“While we don’t have any details to share at this time regarding the potential new plant in North America, we hope to have an announcement to make later this year,” Schoenberg says. “With all this activity in the region I am confident that Continental Tire the Americas will continue on this successful path of providing our customers in North and South America with a broad selection of outstanding tires for their cars and trucks.”
For more information, visit www.conti- online.com.