SUMTER, SC - Continental Tire the Americas, LLC (CTA) announced that it will build an all-new tire plant in Sumter, S.C. to meet growing demand from both the retail level and automotive manufacturers. The first phase of production capacity at the plant in this project is expected to be nearly five million passenger and light truck tires when the plant reaches full production levels in 2017. A second phase in this announced project is expected to bring the plant's capacity to eight million units per year by 2021. Altogether, those initial phases of the project involve an investment of more than $500 million and the creation of more than 1,600 jobs.

"This important announcement is part of Continental's growth strategy worldwide and, especially in this case, for the U.S. market," said Nikolai Setzer, member of Continental's Executive Board and head of Continental's global tire business. "Increasing demand for Continental and General brand passenger and light truck tires in the U.S., as well as the improved business results for CTA, has made this significant investment possible. On behalf of the 160,000 employees of Continental worldwide, I would like to offer our sincere thanks to Governor Haley, the state of South Carolina, the Port Authority, the city of Sumter and Sumter County."

CTA's business growth is highlighted by an annual growth rate of 20 percent in volume for the passenger and light truck tire business in the Americas region in the past two years.

The new manufacturing facility will be located at a Greenfield site off of U.S. Highway 521 in Sumter County.

The announcement was made at a news conference today in Sumter at the Opera House. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt and Greg A. Thompson, Chairman of the Sumter Development Board, joined Setzer and Jochen Etzel, CEO of Continental Tire the Americas, in sharing the good news.

"Continental is a world-class company, and it is truly exciting that they have chosen South Carolina for this new $500 million investment that will create nearly 1,700 new jobs. This announcement is a big win for our state," said Governor Haley.

"Today's announcement would not have been possible without the strong support of the state of South Carolina, Governor Haley and Secretary Hitt," said Etzel. "South Carolina offered us the most compelling business climate that allows us to create these jobs with competitive pay and benefits for the people of this great state."

"Our customers - replacement market retailers and automakers - have told us they need more Continental and General brand tires," Etzel said. "Today's announcement is our commitment to helping them grow their business - as we grow ours. In 2011 alone, we have announced manufacturing investments of nearly $1 billion which are dedicated to increasing our production capacity in the Americas region."

"In addition to the Greenfield announcement, we are also announcing an investment of more than $4 million in our Lancaster County, S.C. headquarters to help meet the needs of our growing workforce. We are looking forward to welcoming 1,700 more people to the Continental family starting very soon."