Goodyear to relocate South African truck tyre production within EMEA

Following yesterday’s announcement that Goodyear is investing 44 million euros to upgrade manufacturing at its Uitenhage, South Africa factory, the firm has offered further clarification about a second proposal to relocate “Medium Radial Truck” (MRT) tyres to other plants across the company’s Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

Company representatives explained that MRT is the terminology used in South Africa for commercial truck tyre production. The MRT tyre classification normally comprises 17.5 to 24 inch tyres. In South Africa Goodyear produces 22.5 inch tyres.

With this in mind, the obvious question is where will Goodyear relocate production to? The official answer to Tyres & Accessories’ question on this point was: “We are currently reviewing which plants will receive MRT production transferred from South Africa.”

Outside South Africa Goodyear produces truck tyres in Wittlich (Germany), Colmar-Berg (Luxembourg), Debica (Poland), Kranj (Slovenia) and in Izmit (Turkey) – meaning there is a high probability that the firm is looking to expand within mainland Europe. However, it is unlikely that Goodyear will move South African production to a higher cost-base manufacturing environment than its current location, which suggests Eastern Europe (namely Debica and Kranj) and Turkey (Izmit) are the front-runners.

The proposal remains “subject to consultation”, but the company expects to substantially complete its investment (and therefore relocation) plans by the beginning of 2017.

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