Continental is to build a new tyre plant in Sumter, South Carolina to meet growing demand for both retail and OEM tyres.

The first phase capacity will be around 5m passenger and light truck tyres when the plant reaches full production levels in 2017. A second phase will take capacity to 8m units a year by 2021. Altogether, those initial phases of the project involve an investment of over $500m and the creation of over 1,600 jobs.

"This important announcement is part of Continental's growth strategy worldwide and in this case especially for the Americas market," said Nikolai Setzer, head of Continental's tyre division. "Increasing demand for... passenger and light truck tyres in the US, as well as the improved business results [there], has made this significant investment possible."

Continental has seen annual growth of 20% in the Americas region in the past two years.

Continental expects to begin construction of the plant in mid-2012 and complete the facility in 2013. In addition to the 'greenfield' announcement, CTA also announced an investment of over $4m in its Lancaster County, SC headquarters to help meet the needs of a growing workforce which will add 80 posts to the current 350 within four years.

Last March, Continental Tire the Americas announced a $220m expansion at its plant in Camaçari, Bahia, Brazil. The investment will create 400 new jobs and double capacity in the plant. In May, 2011, the company announced that it was spending $224m, and adding 444 new jobs, at its Mt. Vernon, Illinois tyre plant. This investment will increase capacity by almost 4m tyres there.