Michelin executives say a plant under construction in central Mexico will have no impact on South Carolina operations.
The French tire maker announced plans to build its 21st North American plant in Leon, Guanajuato, to produce tires for passenger cars and light trucks.
The $510 million plant is expected to commence production in late 2018 and initially make up to 5 million tires a year to supply auto factories in Mexico and the North American consumer market, according to Michelin.
Stephanie Tarbet, a spokeswoman for Greenville-based Michelin North America, said Tuesday that the Mexican plant won’t take anything away from the company’s operations in South Carolina.
In a statement to The Greenville News, she called the plant “good news for our company in Mexico, North America and globally.”
Tarbet said the Mexican plant would be part of Michelin North America and report to its president, Pete Selleck, in Greenville.
In a separate statement Monday announcing its second Mexican plant, Michelin said it chose the location because it’s a three-hour drive from 18 auto factories and that most of the tires made at the plant would be sold to automakers.
Being close to those customers will allow faster and more cost-effective delivery of product with less carbon emissions, Michelin said.
Numerous automakers have announced plants in Mexico in recent years, including BMW, which said last month it would make its 3 series vehicles at a $1 billion factory in San Luis Potosi beginning in 2019.
Michelin already employs about 580 people in Mexico, at its Mexican headquarters and a tire plant in Queretaro, according to a company fact sheet.
Michelin numbers its South Carolina workforce at 9,400, far more than any other U.S. state.
The bulk of those employees are at nine plants in Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg and Lexington counties.
Michelin last year suspended operations at its earthmover tire plant in the Anderson County community of Starr, citing a slowdown in the global market for the giant tires.
Michelin says it allocated $2.1 billion for capital improvements in South Carolina over the past five years, 75 percent of what it spent in the entire United States over the period.