During the last week of January, Michelin North America announced plans to expand the company’s plant in Starr, South Carolina. The cost of the project is estimated at $200 million, and it is set to create more than 100 new job opportunities.
The expansion of the Starr plant is only the latest effort made by Michelin to increase the company’s output of rubber compound, which is necessary for the manufacture of new tires for motorized vehicles. In the past two years, Michelin has invested over $1.15 billion in its South Carolina facilities, and approximately 870 new jobs have been created in the state.
In a public statement regarding the expansion, Pete Selleck, president of Michelin North America, said, “I am proud to say this new expansion at this facility is one of the lynchpins that will allow us to maintain Michelin’s industry leadership in providing customers with the best tires in all categories.” Selleck went on to state that Michelin’s investment in Anderson County “is a testament to our proven, high-quality workforce here.”
Rich Kornacki, executive vice president of Michelin North America, agreed with Selleck. “We are proud to place yet another one of Michelin’s key plants in Anderson County,” said Kornacki.
New construction has already begun on land adjacent to the current Starr plant, which is located near the construction site of the Earthmover tire plant that Michelin is scheduled to open in late 2013.
The expansion in Starr is set to open in 2014 and is considered necessary by Michelin to meet the growing demand for tires in North America. The company’s largest rubber manufacturing plant is located in Sandy Springs, which is only about 20 miles north of Starr. The Sandy Springs facility, built in 1975, was Michelin’s first manufacturing plant in the United States, and it is the company’s largest factory worldwide.
Michelin is the top employer in South Carolina’s manufacturing industry, and the state is home to almost 9,000 of the company’s 22,000 employees in North America. In addition to the three plants that will be operating in Anderson County, six of Michelin’s other manufacturing facilities are located within the state.
Upon hearing the news, Frances Crowder, chairman of the Anderson County Council, said, “We are delighted that Michelin again has decided to invest in our great state and our wonderful county.” Crowder went on to call the relationship between Anderson County and Michelin “long and fruitful.”