Michelin to build new plant in Anderson County

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Michelin North America, Inc. announced Tuesday that the company will expand its Earthmover tire production in South Carolina with a $750 million investment expected to generate 500 new jobs.

Michelin plans to break ground on a new plant in Anderson County that will make giant tires for heavy equipment used in mines, quarries and construction sites.

The investment includes the new plant and expansion of a plant in Lexington that already makes the tires.

Demand for the 12-foot tall, 5-ton Earthmover tires has increased more than 20 percent since 2009, Michelin North America Chairman Pete Selleck said.

“There is unprecedented demand for Michelin Earthmover tires throughout the world,” said Selleck. “It’s a tribute to the productivity of our employees and the pro-business environment in South Carolina that the company is expanding its Earthmover capacity in the state where we first began manufacturing in the United States.”

When added to the $200 million announced last May in Lexington, this announcement brings the total Michelin investment in South Carolina to almost $1 billion in the last year.

More than a third of Michelin’s 22,000 North American employees work in South Carolina. The tire maker built its first American plant in South Carolina in 1973, and the new Anderson County plant will be its ninth facility in the state.

The plant will be located in Starr, next to an existing Michelin rubber processing plant. Michelin hopes to roll the first tire off the line next year and have the plant running at full capacity by 2015.

The state offered the company $9.1 million in grants for infrastructure improvements at the site, said Amy Love, spokeswoman for the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

“Michelin has been part of the economic and social fabric of South Carolina since the first tire rolled off the line in 1975 and has been one of our finest corporate citizens,” said South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. “It really is a great day in South Carolina when our largest manufacturer reaffirms its commitment to the state.”

“It’s always rewarding when new companies locate in South Carolina, but it’s even better when companies like Michelin that have been here for decades decide to expand and grow,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “It is a tribute to Michelin and its 8,000 employees in the state that the company has decided to grow their presence here.”

“We are extremely proud to continue and strengthen the long running relationship between Michelin, the SC Department of Commerce and Anderson County,” said Tommy Dunn, Anderson County councilman, District 5. “I’m grateful for the hard work and dedication of Burriss Nelson and his economic development team in their efforts to cultivate relationships that can benefit from Anderson County’s unique mix of a skilled and willing workforce, the support of Tri-County Technical College and our area’s outstanding quality of life. This is another great day in Anderson County.”

“Michelin’s increased investment in the Upstate speaks volumes to their belief in the South Carolina workforce and its business climate. We are grateful for their contributions to our region and for the jobs they bring to our citizens,” said Upstate SC Alliance President and CEO Hal Johnson.

“Michelin is currently one of the Port of Charleston’s largest customers, and I am very pleased to learn of their plans to expand their manufacturing footprint in South Carolina. Michelin has been a consistent partner and ardent supporter of the deepening of the Charleston Harbor to accommodate the new, larger cargo vessels. This announcement solidifies the company’s relationship with our port and our state,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority.

State and local incentives were approved for Michelin’s expansion.

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks and motorcycles. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases.

Headquartered in Greenville, Michelin North America employs more than 22,200 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.