According to the US Tire Manufacturers’ Association (USTMA), the annual economic footprint of US tire manufacturing is more than $170 billion, and the industry employs 291,000 workers in roles within manufacturing, distribution and retail.
But that workforce number took a hit last week when Michelin announced that it would be winding down its tire making operations in Ardmore, Oklahoma, eliminating 1,400 jobs with it.
Most Read on IEN:
- Podcast: Tesla's Cybertruck Grave; Robots Make Human Slackers; $1.4M Bottle of Whisky
- Baby Products Startup Founded by Actors Files for Bankruptcy
- Marines Test Robot Goat with Rocket Launcher
- Security Breach: Patches, PLCs and Making it Harder for Hackers
At issue, says Michelin, is the plant’s inability to put out competitively priced tires. The company says the Ardmore facility, which has produced passenger tires for 53 years, is not equipped “to deliver tires at competitive costs” to meet the North American market’s “evolving demands.”
According to Reuters, necessary tire production will be moved to Michelin’s other North American plants, and Ardmore will continue to offer rubber-mixing. Staff reductions will reportedly begin mid next year, with the wind-down completing in 2025.
Earlier this year, tire industry competitor Goodyear announced that it would lay off around 5% of its staff globally, including 90 in Akron, Ohio. At the time, Goodyear cited a need “to drive efficiencies to help offset inflation in areas like wages and benefits.”
More recently, industry observers have voiced concerns over the potential domino effect that UAW workers striking the Big 3 could have on the tire industry.
Oklahoma Gov Kevin Stitt released a statement in response to the Michelin news last week, saying “Business is constantly changing, but Ardmore is a great location with a great workforce, and I have no doubt we will attract more businesses.”