By David Shaw, ERJ staff
Geneva, Switzerland -- Continental expects to bring its new Chinese plant on stream later this year. Nikolai Setzer, head of Conti's PLT division, told ERJ exclusively that the project had been postponed by around a year, but building work was re-started toward the end of 2009, and much of the factory shell is now complete. He said the company expects to start production of passenger car tyres there by the end of 2010.
In March 2008, Conti selected Hefei City in Anhui Province as the site for its first tyre plant in China. The factory was initially due to be operational by 2010 with an initial annual capacity of 1 million passenger tyres, growing to 4 million units/year. The plant will employ more than 1,100 at full capacity and represented an investment of $220 million.
Conti said at the time that the plant would focus on Continental brand premium tyres-the ContiPremiumContact 2 initially-starting with the 15-inch size and moving rapidly to 17- and 18-inch tyres.