KALUGA, RussiaContinental A.G.'s Russian subsidiary has begun trial production of car and light truck tires at its $320 million plant in Kaluga.
The plant, operated by Continental Kaluga L.L.C., is designed to produce 4 million tires a year in its first phase, Conti said, and capacity will quadruple to 16 million units over time.
Workers at the factory began trial production in March using components sourced from a Conti plant in Puchov, Slovak Republic. The plant has now moved to components manufactured at the Kaluga plant, Conti said.
Employment during the trial phase is 300, Conti said, but this will increase before year-end.
As for consumer tires, Conti plans to make summer and winter tires in the Continental, Gislaved, Barum and Matador brands, which the company described as key corporate brands on the Russian market.
Conti disclosed its plans for this factory in July 2011 after a year-long search for an appropriate site.
At that time Nikolai Setzer, head of Conti's Tire Division, called Russia one of the future's most significant single markets, with substantial double-digit growth rates in vehicle registrations.
Kaluga is a city with more than 325,000 inhabitants on the Oka River about 100 miles southwest of Moscow. Vehicle makers Volkswagen A.G., Volvo A.B. and PSA Peugeot Citrooen have assembly plants there.
Conti did not disclose the physical size of the plant or acreage acquired.