Continental Tire unveils IL expansion

Continental Tire of Americas celebrated an expansion of its Corporate Headquarters in Indian Land on Friday, Aug. 24, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included a significant donation to Lancaster County’s fire departments.

Continental Tire announced its intentions to expand its North and South American headquarters in the MacMillan Business Park in October.

CEO Jochen Etzel said the addition reflects the company’s successful focus on  “expansion and solid growth” over the past five years, including $1 billion in investments in the company’s North American operations.

“There is a good reason for celebration because this brings with it an additional 80 jobs, Etzel said. “When completed, this building will be home to more than 400 employees.

He said the company is grateful for the support from South Carolina, especially Lancaster County.
“They have worked hard to create a climate in which Continental Tire could invest not only in bricks and mortar, but jobs.”

The $4 million, 16,000-square-foot addition will house financial, marketing and operations employees for the company’s entire North and South American operation. The expansion comes as a prelude to the construction of a $500 million tire plant in Sumter set to begin next year, eventually creating more than 1,600 jobs.

Since Continental moved into its MacMillan Park facility from Charlotte in 2009, the company has made several donations to the community, including contributions to local schools and emergency services.

The company continued the charitable giving Friday with a gift of 50 tires intended for Lancaster County’s fire engines and a $10,000 donation to Boys and Girls Clubs of Rock Hill.

“We hear that your fire trucks can really put some wear and tear on their tires, so this will be a good test of our tires,” Etzel said. “And, I hear you can use some help with your Lancaster County budget.”

Lancaster County Council Chairwoman Kathy Sistare lauded the company for its reputation as a high-quality, internationally known brand and record for safety and community involvement.

“This is a glimpse of Lancaster County’s future,” Sistare said. “We’re proud to have you as a corporate citizen of Lancaster County … and I’d like to personally thank Continental Tire for believing in Lancaster County.”

Also among the speakers at the ceremony was S.C. Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hilt.

Hilt said the state has become a leader in the automotive industry and Continental Tire is part of the reason for the automakers’ success in the state.

Hilt said the people gathered in the room for the day’s event – Continental Tire executives, state and local politicians and local employees – were all responsible for the company’s expansion in Lancaster County.

“Teamwork is absolutely a vital part of our success,” he said before going on to thank the company for investing in the state. “These donations show what kind of company Continental Tire is and that they’re heart is in Lancaster and Sumter County.”

Lancaster County Councilman Larry McCullough, who represents Indian Land’s District 1 seat, said Continental Tire’s success represents success for Lancaster County and Indian Land.

McCullough said not only do companies like Continental Tires provide high-paying jobs that attract highly skilled and professional residents, but the company’s presence spurs a chain of success that works to make the county and community better.

“What they do is not only good for their success, it helps us all,” McCullough said. “World-class companies attract world-class players.”

Continental Tire opened its $11 million, 75,000-square-foot Indian Land headquarters at 1830 McMillan Park Drive in March 2009 to house its passenger, light-truck and commercial tire group operations.

The company reported $38.1 billion in sales in 2011, making it one of the leading automotive supply companies in the world.

By Reece Murphy, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News