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Camaçari Plant in Bahia has manufactured the first Continental tire made in Brazil.

Dec 27, 2005

Investment of 260 million dollar / Plant completed in record time.

 

Just 14 months after the ceremony that marked the laying of the foundation stone, the international automotive supplier Continental AG, Germany, has manufactured its first tire in Brazil: A ContiEcoContact 3, 175/70R13 82T measure, which will be sent to be homologated in Hanover, Germany, where it will be submitted to several tests during a two to four week period.

 

The plant, located in a 500,000 m² area at the Camaçari Industrial Zone, near Salvador, Bahia, will be build in a record time, a direct result of an 1,500 people effort at the height of the process. In order to surpass the planned schedule, the support given by the BahiaState administration and by the Camaçari city administration was critical. "In a project of this size, the timetable can only be surpassed if there is cooperation between companies and public institutions. An example is the Bahia state administration effort to solve the power supply issue, installing a power substation to supply the plant," says Pedro Carreira, the Portuguese executive indicated by Continental AG headquarters as the Passenger Tire Plant's Project Director and future Plant Operating Director.

 

Of the 260 million dollar investment in the first Continental tire plant in Brazil, 70 per cent has been already spent in new machinery using the most up-to-date technology available in the Group plants around the world as well in the civil works. Portugal, Slovakia, United States and Germany subsidiaries have given an important contribution, training operators, supervisors and technicians for several sectors.  These units have already received 130 collaborators, from a 200 people group for a four month period training.

 

The team is now formed by 184 employees (94 per cent of them Brazilians), a number that shall increase to 700 workers next year, reaching 900 by 2007.

The new Continental plant in Bahia is already causing a positive impact in the local economy. "At this moment, 80 per cent of our collaborators are native from Bahia. We are still developing partnerships and training local suppliers in new technologies, in order to support our plant. In the medium and long term, it will attract more companies to the region," says Pedro Carreira. Raw material suppliers are evaluating the implementation of units or expanding the ones they have in the Industrial Area in order to guarantee the regular supply to the new plant. The plant official inauguration is scheduled to April, with a passenger car tire output of 9,000 units/day by the end of 2006 and 14,000 units/day by the first half of 2007. The truck tire production will begin on July 2006.

 

According to Renato Sarzano, managing director of Tire Sales for Latin America Operations at Continental, the beginning of the Camaçari plant production is a crucial moment for the company's presence in the Brazilian market."Next year we shall witness the brand consolidation in Brazil due to the beginning of the plant production." remembers the executive. To him, the first tire plant of the company in the country is generating a positive reaction in the reseller network, which is not only being expanded but is also receiving more training as well. "The reseller network itself is already investing because they are sure that 2006 will present a strong increase on sales", he celebrates. To the executive, the Camaçari plant will transform Brazil in an export base to the NAFTA region (United States, Mexico and Canada), besides Latin America. "The new plant will allow us to be more competitive, improving our agility on critical aspects of the export process, such as time of delivery and logistic", Sarzano concludes.

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