The president of the Hauts-de-France region has labelled Bridgestone’s planned closure of its Béthune tyre manufacturing plant “brutal” and a “premeditated assassination.” For good measure, Xavier Bertrand added “we are dealing with cynics and liars” in his strongly-worded response to Bridgestone’s announcement. In a joint statement with the French government, Bertrand’s Hauts-de-France Region called on the Bridgestone group to “assume its responsibilities,” alleging that the company’s divestment from and allocation of low-margin tyres to the Béthune plant over the last decade has “automatically” led to its deficit in competitiveness.
Following the closure of Continental’s Aachen, Germany tyre production facility, Tyres & Accessories asked representatives of the company’s UK operation (Continental Tyre Group) what the impact will be on local customers. In short, the company is aiming to continue “high quality” service.Following the closure of Continental’s Aachen, Germany tyre production facility, Tyres & Accessories asked representatives of the company’s UK operation (Continental Tyre Group) what the impact will be on local customers. In short, the company is aiming to continue “high quality” service.
The union representing employees at a closure-threatened Continental factory has responded angrily to the decision, accusing Continental of “sacrificing” a “profitable tyre plant” as part of its savings programme. The IG BCE union particularly doesn’t understand the logic behind this step as it claims the tyre business in Aachen has achieved “double-digit” profit margins over the years and even operated in the black during the corona lockdown.
Bridgestone has announced its plan to close its Bethune plant in France. The manufacturer said that the measure is being used to reduce production overcapacity and to improve cost efficiency. The proposal could impact 863 employees. Bridgestone added that it is “fully aware of the social consequences of this project and is committed to using all means at its disposal to define support plans for each employee.” The earliest the closure would take place is the second quarter of 2021. Bridgestone’s presence in France would continue through sales and retail operations, in which it employs about 3,500, the company said.
Employees at Continental AG’s Aachen, Germany tyre factory were informed that the plant will be closed by the end of 2021. According to the German Handelsblatt newspapter, more than 1,800 employees will be affected by the closure. The announcement comes two weeks after Continental announced cost-cutting plans aiming at saving 1 billion euros by 2023.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is set to open its manufacturing plants in the United States and Serbia next week (the week commencing Monday 27 April). The facilities have been temporarily closed for approximately five weeks due to coronavirus and its impacts. The company’s plant in Melksham, UK remains temporarily closed. And Cooper’s Mexico plant is to close temporarily.
Is Brexit going to wreak havoc on the automotive business or is it all just another millennium bug flash-in-the-pan? If a no-deal withdrawal does spell havoc, is it going to impact the tyre business as much as the OEMs?
A no-deal Brexit “will change operating landscape for global auto industry”, according to credit analysts at Moody’s. Specifically they report that they expect Japanese, UK and some German automakers will see profits hit due to 10 per cent auto tariff and through their exposure to production and trade disruptions. And, suggesting that we should expect further closures, they added that the news would affect “production strategies in the UK and across Europe”.