COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) – Tire maker Michelin North America announced Thursday it will expand its existing rubber production operations in Anderson County. The $200 million investment is expected to generate 100 new jobs.
"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," said Pete Selleck, chairman and president of Michelin North America. "Michelin's continued investment in Anderson County and the state of South Carolina is a testament to our proven, high-quality workforce here."
Michelin North America will expand its rubber production facility in order to keep up with increasing demand that has its factories in North America building more tires. The expansion is expected to be operational in 2014.
"It's exciting to see a world-class company like Michelin choose to further expand its footprint in our state. We celebrate Michelin's decision to invest $200 million and create 100 new jobs in Starr. When one of South Carolina's largest manufacturers chooses to expand here, it helps send the message that the Palmetto State is the right place to do business," said Gov. Nikki Haley.
Thursday's announcement is the second expansion announcement in South Carolina for the company in a year. Last April, Michelin announced expansion plans and committed to invest $750 million and create 500 new jobs in Anderson and Lexington counties.
"South Carolina has really become the national leader in the tire industry and today's announcement by Michelin just adds to our reputation. Additionally, this provides another boost to the Palmetto State's manufacturing renaissance. Our automotive-related industries continue to thrive, grow and create new jobs," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.
Construction has begun on the Starr plant expansion, which will be adjacent to the current facility. Also nearby is Michelin's previously announced Earthmover tire plant that is being built and is scheduled to begin producing tires later this year.
"We are delighted that Michelin again has decided to invest in our great state and our wonderful county," said Anderson County Council Chairman Francis Crowder. "The relationship between Anderson County and Michelin has been long and fruitful. Today Michelin will again add quality jobs and investment to our area. We are truly blessed and we pledge to continue nurturing this very special relationship now and in the future."
The Starr factory is one of two Michelin semi-finished rubber production plants in Anderson County. The company's largest rubber-producing plant in the world is only a few miles away in Sandy Springs. Built in 1975, that facility was one of Michelin's first manufacturing facilities in the U.S.
"There is no better way to kick off 2013 than by announcing an investment of $200 million and 100 jobs," said Anderson County Councilman District 3 Eddie Moore. "Not only is this great news, but it is a demonstration of Anderson County's business-friendly environment. Michelin is part of the Anderson County family – they have put down roots in our community and it is extremely gratifying to watch them flourish. Their success is our success."
Michelin is South Carolina's largest manufacturing employer. Nearly 9,000 of Michelin's 22,000 employees in North America will be located in South Carolina when all the construction is complete. Nine of Michelin North America's 18 production facilities are located in the state.
The company has begun hiring maintenance technicians already, and will begin hiring production workers in the coming months. Anyone interested in job opportunities with the company should visit careers.michelin-us.com/.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved a set aside grant of $1.5 million for site preparation and approved job development credits.