Chinese Manufacturer Qindao Sentury Tire Ltd
Site Selection USA
Initial project requirements for this state-of-the-art, advanced manufacturing “after-market” passenger tire plant, including a 100-engineer R&D center and test track, included a 500-acre greenfield site, $500 million capital investment and 1,000 jobs.
Sentury Tire, a fast-growing Chinese tire manufacturer known for its trademarks ‘Sentury’, ‘Landsail’, ‘Delinte’ and ‘Citystar,’ engaged our team to find an ideal location for its new North American smart factory. The expansion would allow the company to seize its potential on the North American OE and replacement market by building and leveraging a local service and supply chain. In pursuit of its internationalization strategy, Sentury announced plans to invest $530m and create 1,000 jobs, signalling the firm’s long-term commitment to customers, communities and employees in the United States. Manufacturing tires is a technologically complex process that consumes a lot of energy, requires smooth but extensive logistics and highly-automated facilities that operate 24/7. The project was particularly challenging due to its size; it would have a significant impact on any community, its economy, infrastructure, demographics and business community.
Our team navigated Sentury management through the entire site selection process, from defining the project requirements to sealing the deal. Together with a team of engineers, we focussed on identifying and mitigating environmental, permitting and construction risks early in the process. To facilitate much of the technical analysis, we worked closely with an international engineering firm that helped assess the quality and developability of sites. Our project managers coordinated the wider project team and stakeholders to keep the project on track and within the budget.
Due to its size and reputation, the project attracted a lot of attention even beyond the economic development community. We acted as an extension of and gatekeeper to Sentury’s U.S. executive team, meaning that we coordinated initially more than 40 communities in 12 states. We assumed a holistic approach to analysing each location at every step of our proprietary analytical process. In comparison to smaller projects, these “megasites” that we were assessing were typically not fully developed; many were not even cleared by the time we were first assessing them. Our project team thus had to evaluate a site’s development potential within the budgetary and time constraints.
Community and state representatives were invited to Atlanta for an intense round of presentations and discussions before we conducted site visits, so that we could clarify open questions about the feasibility and development potential of each long listed site in person. Each “red flag” raised during our assessment was discussed with the community representatives. The exhaustive interviews and discoveries allowed us to reduce the long list to a total of 11 short listed sites that we could plan to visit.
We coordinated site visits to all 11 sites in 9 states with the help of our state and local economic development partners who made planes, helicopters and vehicles available for us to tour the sites and communities. Sentury management and the project team had a very good understanding of each location and what to look for during the on-site visit. Each site visit gave the project team the opportunity to discuss open questions with local decision-makers, municipal, engineers, utility experts and others. Based on our Comparative Analysis Report that included each site, the client and project team agreed on two finalists that went through an extensive due diligence process. Sentury management eventually relied on tax and business incentive analysis provided by a financial consulting firm that provided the project team with comparative analysis of the net present cash value and usefulness to Sentury Tire of each state’s and community’s tax and incentive programs.
Site Selection Results
We identified a 500-acre rail-served site in LaGrange, Georgia (west Georgia near the Alabama border). The community will donate the property to the company and provide other levels of support as well. Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia was also very supportive in recruiting Sentury Tire by offering major infrastructure funding for the site.
- Qindao Sentury Tire Ltd.
- Chinese Tire Manufacturer
- 500-acre rail-served site
- LaGrange, Georgia
- Tremendous community support
- Gov. Nathan Deal (GA) very supportive
- Major infrastructure funding for the site