Michelin has confirmed a multi-million pound investment in its Tigar Tyres subsidiary in Serbia. Over the next five years, the French manufacturer will plough $227 million into the Tigar plant in Pirot with an aim of increasing annual capacity by 50% to 12 million tyres.
The 77-year-old plant, which Michelin bought into in 2005 before taking over totally in 2009, produces entry-level tires sold under the Tigar, Kormoran and Riken brands. Most of the tyres produced will supply fast-growing markets in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The latest move enhances Michelin’s strategy to strengthen its presence in the entry-level market segment, which it projects will grow 30% worldwide over the next 10 years.
In addition to boosting tyre production to 12m by the end of 2016, the investment will also create 700 jobs at the plant: the site currently employs 1900 staff.
Work on the expansion is expected to begin in early 2013 with production from the expanded plant starting by mid-2015.
Tigar also makes Michelin-brand tyres for two-wheeled vehicles at Pirot site and inner tubes at a plant in Babušnica.