Wiltshire politicians and Unite union representatives have reacted to the news that Cooper Tire plans to end tyre production at its Melksham plant by the end of 2023. Speaking to local news source, the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald, Michelle Donelan, MP for Chippenham, offered her support to workers, while Melksham’s mayor emphasised the longevity and importance of the manufacturing site in the town’s history. With the plant’s 350-strong workforce represented by Unite, union leader Tony Hulbert railed against the timing of the announcement, given the UK’s spiralling cost-of-living crisis.
The Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe plans to close its UK tyre manufacturing plant in Melksham, Wiltshire by the end of 2023. The company will now begin a consultation process on the proposed closure involving 350 Cooper employees and the relevant employee representative bodies. Previous cutbacks at Cooper’s Melksham plant, one of the few new tyre producers remaining in the UK, were announced in 2018. Car and SUV tyre manufacturing were moved to newer facilities in the company’s manufacturing footprint, such as its plant in Serbia. The remaining functions of the site were the production of motorsport and motorcycle tyres, as well as the company’s Europe headquarters and Technical Center. The merger of Cooper and its new parent company The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company was finalised in June 2021 following the announcement of its acquisition in February. Goodyear approved a plan to streamline its global administrative structure in the second quarter of 2022.
As part of the global footprint restructuring announced as part of its Mid Term Business Plan (2021-2023), Bridgestone Corporation is shutting one of the two truck tyre plants it currently operates in China. It will close the Bridgestone (Huizhou) Tire Co., Ltd. (BSHZ) facility by the end of 2021, consolidating its manufacturing footprint into the Bridgestone (Shenyang) Tire Co., Ltd. (BSSY) plant.
Bridgestone Corporation is currently restructuring its non-tyre Diversified Products business and has announced its intention to close a factory in Japan as part of consolidation efforts related to production of automotive seat pads. It will close the Bridgestone Chemitech plant in Ageo, Saitama Prefecture in the fourth quarter of 2023 and consolidate operations within the three remaining facilities dedicated to automotive seat pad production – Bridgestone Chemitech’s Nabari and Hofu sites as well as Bridgestone Diversified Chemical Products’ Tosu plant.
Tyre production at the Continental plant in Aachen, Germany will cease at the end of next year, if not earlier. This is one of the outcomes of talks between the company and representatives of Aachen plant employees. Continental has also published details of upcoming retraining programmes.
Pirelli has reaffirmed its commitment to “maintaining industrial operations” at both its Carlisle and Burton-on-Trent UK factories after unions suggested the company was about to close its MIRS robotic production line in Burton. According to Unite, which represents all 280 members of the Burton tyre factory workforce, Pirelli has proposed cutting 80 jobs. In a statement published on 11 February 2021, Unite criticised Pirelli for “not taking up the furlough scheme for these workers, instead of pushing ahead with the redundancies.”
Toyo Tire Corporation is closing its loss-making wholly-owned Silverstone Berhad Malaysian tyre manufacturing subsidiary in June 2021. Established on 12 July 1986 and purchased by Toyo in 2011, Silverstone currently manufactures tyres for (primarily Malaysian) new vehicles and Silverstone branded tyres for the aftermarket as well as certain Toyo branded tyres. The dissolution of the Silverstone subsidiary (Silverstone Berhad) will commence by 31 December 2021.
The latest temporary closure of Honda’s Swindon plant because of parts shortages could be the “tip of the iceberg” for new car supply issues in 2021, the Vehicle Remarketing Association is warning. Chair Philip Nothard said that the problem, believed to be caused by poor availability of semiconductors, was potentially a sign of things to come from all manufacturers.
Honda will next week pause car production at its factory in Swindon; the third time it has done so in a little over a month. The Japanese car manufacturer said in a statement that output would be paused from Monday to Thursday next week, the longest such pause so far. It said that global supply disruption as a result of the coronavirus pandemic was responsible for the pause.
Bridgestone announced plans to close Béthune, France factory back in September 2020. Now, however, the location looks likely to retain a role in the broader automotive sector after the Japanese tyremaker reported that it has identified 24 opportunities relating to the future of the site. Two of the options relate the sale of the site to other tyre manufacturers. Five of the identified projects concern the installation of new activities on the site in tyre and rubber fields as well as batteries and other sectors. Two of the proposals relate to “the installation of activities outside the site”. Nine projects are said to be in the study phase.
Strong words from one of the unions representing workers at the Continental tyre factory in Aachen, Germany. Speaking with Munich-based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, IG BCE trade union chairman Michael Vassiliadis stressed that the planned job cuts “will be expensive”. He also claimed that Continental has turned away potential investors.
Financial analysts have reiterated their “buy” rating on Continental AG shares, while also raising price target from 150 euros from 123 euros previously. In short, Continental AG is expected to continue outperforming consensus estimates. Writing in an investors note dated 18 November, Jefferies equity research said: “Tyre margins will return to an industry leading greater than 15 per cent in full-year 2021. Conti remains among the least liked stocks in the sector which provides positive surprise potential.”
Bridgestone has confirmed its intention to close the Béthune tyre plant in France. The country’s Secretary of State for Economy and Finance, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, shared news about the decision yesterday. She tweeted that Bridgestone has “closed the door to continuing its activity in Béthune” and confirmed the plant’s closure. She added that the French government would work with employees to find a solution for everyone.
Following consultations with workers and unions, Bridgestone South Africa (BSAF) has finalised the process to close down its tyre manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. The plant’s last day of operation will be 15 November. Bridgestone announced its intention to close the facility in August.