AACHEN, Germany — Continental A.G. is delaying the proposed closing of its Aachen tire plant as part of an agreement reached with employees for a "socially responsible" discontinuation of operations at the site.
The facility will continue producing tires throughout 2021 with up to 1,200 employees. It will phase out manufacturing there gradually by year-end 2022, Continental said.
The company originally had planned to cease manufacturing at the site by year-end 2021. At 2,000 employees, the 90-year-old car/light truck tire plant is the "smallest and the most cost-intensive" site in the company's European production network, Conti said.
In addition, up to 500 employees are to remain at the tire plant through 2023, Conti said without giving further details.
Continental said the process will be accompanied by a comprehensive training initiative to enable employees to make the direct transition "from work to work."
For employees close to retirement age, the extension will simplify the transfer to a statutory pension.
"The discontinuation of tire production in Aachen is painful. We are aware of the consequences of this step for our employees, and we stand by our responsibility," Ariane Reinhart, Conti's executive board member for human relations, said.
The agreement will help the ongoing talks on the viable re-use of the factory premises, according to the German manufacturer.
Conti earlier cited declining capacity utilization levels at all of its European tire plants for the decision.