Managers of Cuenca’s Continental Tire factory say they can meet much of the increased demand for tires created by the government’s 45% tariff on imported tires. They also say that there will be no increase in prices due to increased production.
Continental is the only tire manufacturer in Ecuador, selling 70% of its tires to the local market and exporting 30%.
Mariana Machuca, public relations director for Continental, says that the Cuenca factory, which has been in operation for 50 years, has the capacity to meet much of the new demand. “We export to Chile, Bolivia and Peru, but our immediate priority will be to produce tires for Ecuador,” she said. “I don’t know if we can cover the entire shortfall but we can increase our production by 20% to 30%, which will lessen the impact of tire tariffs.”
She added: “Our commitment is to maintain prices at their current level and help prevent speculation that could drive prices higher.”
Continental Tire employees 1,200 people directly and another 4,000 indirectly in Cuenca. The company has 100 sales outlets in Ecuador.