CAMPO GRANDE, Brazil — Group Michelin is adding capacity for radial agricultural tires at its plant in Campo Grande, to serve what it sees as growing demand in Brazil for the product.
Noting that agriculture accounts for 22 percent of Brazil's gross national product, Michelin's president for South America, Nour Bouhassoun, said his company intends to grow “considerably” in the sector in the coming years.
Emmanuel Ladent, the head of Michelin's agricultural division globally, said only about 6 percent of agricultural tires sold in Brazil are radial, in contrast to Europe where the figure is estimated at 87 percent.
"Betting on this potential, Michelin aims to consolidate its position as a market leader in the Brazilian agricultural radial tires, which will represent a significant contribution to its progress," he concluded.
Michelin did not disclose how much capacity is being added, nor what it's investing in the project, the expected effect on employment nor whether it will involve a physical expansion of the 35-year-old Campo Grande plant, which has capacity for car and light and medium truck tires.
Michelin said it will focus production on its Ultraflex IF and VF lines, which it promotes as lower soil-compacting products.
The company cited a study by the British University Harper Adams that shows a 4-percent increase in crop yield when all machines involved in the production have radial tires replaced by tires with increased flexion, such as the Ultraflex line.
In his prepared remarks, Mr. Bouhassoun noted that Brazil has the largest area of arable land in the world.