By SEANNA ADCOX
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Michelin's 10th plant in South Carolina, opening Thursday, will produce the company's innovative airless radial tire and develop the concept's future generations.
Pete Selleck, chairman and president of Michelin North America, says commercial production of the Tweel comes nearly 10 years after Michelin introduced the combined tire and wheel concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. But the entire development process occurred in Greenville, home to the company's second-largest research center worldwide.
The Piedmont facility will build the airless tires specifically for construction vehicles and John Deere commercial mowers. The plant's 100 research and manufacturing employees bring Michelin's total workforce to nearly 9,000 in South Carolina, further boosting the state's status as the nation's tire-producing capital.
Selleck says the company is investing $50 million in its latest plant.