GREENVILLE, S.C. — Reuters News Agency is reporting that Michelin North America Inc. plans to build a $510 million factory in central Mexico.
The plant will produce about 5 million tires a year, according to documents reviewed by the news agency, and could be expanded to double production by around 2020.
Reuters reported that the plant will be built in the state of Guanajuato, with production scheduled to begin next year. It will produce passenger and light truck tires for North America, Europe and Asia, a Reuters story said, with some of the plant's production destined to be sold as replacement tires and other tires to be used as original equipment for Mexico's auto sector.
A Michelin spokesman told Reuters by email that the Greenville-based tire maker “has a long-standing commitment to strengthening its operations in North America. While Michelin's interest in expanding in the region has been the subject of speculation in recent months, the company is not announcing any specific details at this time.”
Asked by Tire Business to confirm or deny the Reuters story, a Michelin spokesperson said the company had “nothing further to add to the Reuters report.”
Reuters cited statistics from the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers that Mexico is the world's seventh largest vehicle producer, attracting auto makers due to the country's low labor costs, free trade agreements and proximity to the U.S.
Michelin already operates a plant in Queretaro. Mexico.
Last year, Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. announced plans to build factories in Guanajuato and Goodyear is building a plant in the central state of San Luis Potosi. Late last year the Akron-based tire maker completed the laying of the foundation for the new plant.