KORBACH, Germany (Oct. 1, 2013) — Continental A.G. will invest $54 million through 2018 in its tire plant in Korbach to focus the factory on larger diameter high-performance car and light truck tires.
"With this investment, we are taking deliberate action to scale up our investment program in the further development of product-specific expertise in tire design, tire tread, tire contours and tire compounds," said Nikolai Setzer, head of Conti's tire division, "as well as in the expansion of our global tire production capacity.
Conti will focus production at the plant on 19- to 22-inch rim diameter car and light truck tires, while at the same time use the site to develop new manufacturing processes for these types of specialized tires, Mr. Setzer said.
Capacity for the targeted tire sizes will start coming on stream in 2016 and expand to 400,000 units annually by 2018. The project will create more than 60 jobs at the plant for this production line, according to the tire maker.
Conti said demand for these sizes and types of tires is growing steadily in the international OE and replacement markets and creating ever-more-stringent performance characteristics. Meeting these performance demands, Conti said, requires increasingly challenging solutions, some of which pertain to process technology.The company lists motorcycle and industrial tire production capacity at the Korbach plant besides summer and winter car tires, but did not indicate the future of those product lines at Korbach.
The workforce at Korbach totals more than 3,000, Conti said, including those in tire distribution and the ContiTech non-tire rubber products business.
"We see this investment decision as a form of recognition for all the hard work that our employees have put in over recent years," said Jörg Schönfelder, head of the Works Council at Korbach.
"Furthermore, it also forms an important element of our strategy to secure the site. People have enormous faith in us and this is something we can be proud of. Although this project in Korbach is an ambitious one, I am confident that it will also be a success and play an instrumental part in ensuring the success of the company as a whole."
Among innovations developed at Korbach was a specialized heating process needed to to produce the firm's Nordic Spike studded winter tires, which has since become a standard production process throughout the company, according to Lothar Salokat, manager of the 105-year-old plant.