DUNDEE, Scotland — Group Michelin's passenger tire plant in Dundee, targeted for closure by year-end, instead immediately will close permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The French tire maker will not restart manufacturing at the plant when COVID-19 lock-down restrictions are lifted, Michelin said in a statement provided to European Rubber Journal, a sister publication of Tire Business.
The decision affects roughly 845 employees, who will be paid their normal rate through the end of June, according to terms agreed to by Michelin and the Unite union there.
Michelin had planned to halt production there until April 13, expecting to restart manufacturing until the factory's eventual closure in June. Resuming production now, however, will be "unviable and unwise" due to the growing challenges caused by COVID-19, Michelin added.
According to Michelin, output already was "extremely low" when production was idled March 23. Michelin announced in November 2018 it intended to shut Dundee plant by the end of 2020.
The site, which opened in 1971, manufactures 16-inch and smaller tires for passenger cars, whose market has faced serious difficulties in recent years. The plant's rated capacity was 25,000 units a day.
Michelin had agreed last summer to convert the Dundee site to an innovation center called Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) Ltd., a joint-venture project with Scottish Enterprise and Dundee City Council. The center will focus on sustainable-mobility and low-carbon energy developments.