CLINTON, MS. Continental’s new tire plant, slated to open in Hinds County by the end of 2019, will be a place fleet customers can visit to learn about the tires, as well as pick up some tips that could help them reduce costs.
During the company’s Nov. 3 groundbreaking ceremony here in Clinton, representatives from Continental said the new plant will include a showcase to hold dealer events, a training facility for new employees, and will serve as a technical training center for fleet and dealer customers. And since tires are constantly evolving, Paul Williams, Conti’s executive vice president of commercial vehicle tire, the Americas, noted that the new facility will be fully up-to-date with the most technically advanced equipment.
“Just as we upgrade the existing plants, we have the chance to put all the latest technology into this facility,” Williams said. “So the projects that roll off – literally – at the end of the line will have all the latest technology in it.”
The plant’s technical training center will be a facility in which distributors and fleet customers can visit to learn about tire advancements and proper care. Training will touch on:
- How to better reduce costs by utilizing the tires correctly
- The importance of putting the right tires on the right application
- Proper maintenance and air pressure
- How to determine exactly when to pull the tires off to get them retreaded
The company hopes the new plant will also put it at an advantage logistically, Williams told Fleet Owner. Right now, Continental Tire the Americas (CTA), which has facilities in South Carolina and Mt. Vernon, IL, has to import some of its tires from Europe since it is short of total capacity in NAFTA. CTA is a unit of Continental Corp., which is based in Germany.
“It’s much better to have that manufacturing close to site,” Williams noted. “There’s much less of a delay so that if there’s an uptick in demand we can better serve the customers; we don’t have the backorder issues.”
“The other part of that is as you run the tires and you see the performance of the tires and you look to improve that then obviously if you’ve got a facility here that’s close, we’re able to make adjustments quickly, refine processes quicker, and evolve a better product,” he added.
Nikolai Setzer, member of Continental’s executive board and head of the company’s global tire business, told Fleet Owner that he sees this new development as an opportunity to grow in the United States and to encourage competitive growth within the market over time.
“We believe in the economic development of the U.S., which includes the markets,” he said. “We know that if the economic development is going forward as well, the truck tire market will go forward as well. Even if the market isn’t exploding like China tomorrow, we see the opportunities to grow.”