Employees at the Continental Tire plant in Mt. Vernon, Ill. saw the first tires from the recently announced expansion project produced ahead of schedule. “I am very proud of our great team here in Mt. Vernon,” says Benny Harmse, vice president of manufacturing.
Harmse says the team worked diligently to ensure the success of the expansion project, “It was not only on time, but actually ahead of schedule,” he says. “Their diligence resulted in the early production of the first tires from this expansion. This is helping us with the important task of meeting our customers’ demands for Continental and General brand tires.”
The $224 million investment required for this expansion was announced on May 12, and construction began immediately. In 5½ months, the 438,000-square-foot expansion was ready, and the first tires were produced. Along with the investment, the company announced a total of 444 new full-time jobs to be filled within the next three years. A total of 50 new employees have been hired since the May announcement.
When the expansion project reaches the planned full capacity in 2014, an additional volume of about 3.7 million tires will be produced, bringing the total production capacity of the Mt. Vernon plant to more than 13.4 million passenger car and light vehicle tires and 3.15 million commercial vehicle tires per year. The company says the investment is part of its comprehensive growth strategy for its tire operations worldwide.