Bridgestone to Cut 800 Workers in U.S.

Will stop producing tires for passenger cars and light trucks at its Tennessee factory

Bridgestone Corp. said on Jan. 23 that it was shedding about 800 jobs in the U.S. to cope with weaker demand. The company said it would stop making tires for passenger cars and light trucks at its Tennessee factory with the loss of 543 jobs. It will also reduce production of tires for bigger trucks at the same plant, resulting in a further 259 layoffs.

Bridgestone said it hoped to re-hire workers when the economy picks up, perhaps as early as the fourth quarter of 2009.

The company will continue to produce tires for larger trucks and buses at the plant with more than 700 workers.

Bridgestone, which vies with France's Michelin to be the world's top tiremaker, has been hit hard by weaker auto sales and a stronger yen. The company will halt production at its French plant in Bethune for 46 days between February and June because of weak demand, the managing director of the plant, Bruno Capron, said. "We are faced with a much bigger than expected drop in tyre sales, not just in France but also other factories," he said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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