Japanese tire maker Bridgestone Corp. said Wednesday it plans to spend $1.1 billion to expand an existing auto-tire plant in South Carolina and build a new factory to produce tires for heavy, off-road vehicles.
A 1.5-million-square-foot plant will be constructed in Graniteville, S.C., about 60 miles southwest of Columbia, to build large tires for farm tractors and other heavy vehicles. Work will begin next month with completion expected in the first quarter of 2014. About 80% of the tires will be distributed to the U.S. with the remainder exported to Latin American markets.
Simultaneously, Bridgestone will expand its current passenger-car tire plant, also located in Graniteville, by more than one-third to increase output of premium auto tires. The 474,000-square-foot expansion, the plant's second, will increase total production to 37,750 tires a day. Production should start during the third quarter of 2013. The two projects should create about 850 jobs, it said.
The announcement highlights an ongoing move by auto-related companies choosing to manufacture in the U.S. with an eye to exporting elsewhere after years of abandoning the country in search of cheaper labor in other parts of the world.