MONTLUCONS, France — Goodyear is planning to move light-truck tire production out of its Montlucons factory and convert capacity at that plant solely to motorcycle tires.
Goodyear has budgeted $16 million to carry out the capacity restructuring and said Goodyear France S.A. has opened a consultation process with "relevant employee representative bodies."
News of the proposed change comes a week after Goodyear notified workers at the Cooper Tire & Rubber Europe plant in Melksham, England, that it intends to phase out production there of motorcycle and racing tires by year-end 2023.
The company said it does not anticipate any permanent staff reduction in Montluçon. The 102-year old plant in Central France currently employs 700 people. Goodyear's intent is to provide training for all employees who would be redeployed to an equivalent or similar position and to support them in their transition.
Subject to the consultation process with the workforce, Goodyear said it expects to be "substantially complete" with these plans by the beginning of 2024.
Pierre-Jean Eraud, president of Goodyear France, said the project "represents a unique opportunity for the Goodyear site in Montluçon, which will become the company's European reference in a high-value segment driven by strong demand.
"This investment project confirms Goodyear's commitment to remain established in France by investing in the modernization of its sites in Amiens, Riom and now in Montluçon, despite the challenging and rapidly changing business environment."
Motorcycle tire production at the plant is focused on the Dunlop brand.
Goodyear did not say where it would move the Montlucon plant's light truck tire production capacity. The company has four plants in Europe that have LT tire capacity, and the firm's other plant in France, in Amiens, is focused on passenger tire production.
The plant was opened in 1920 by Dunlop Tyres and taken over by Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. in 1994.
Goodyear took over operations at the factory in 2015 following the dissolution of the Goodyear-Sumitomo Alliance that the two companies had established 16 years earlier.