Michelin to Shut U.S. Tire Factory

April 14, 2009
1,000 workers employed at Alabama factory.

The U.S. subsidiary of French tire maker Michelin said Monday it will shut a U.S. plant in Alabama, where it employs 1,000 people, due to an "unprecedented" slump in demand. Michelin North America said the closure of the plant in Opelika, Alabama, by Oct. 31 was part of a restructuring plan for its manufacturing operations "in response to the unprecedented drop in market demand." "The decision comes in the wake of the continuing economic crisis as consumers are driving fewer miles, purchasing fewer vehicles and delaying tire replacement purchases," the company said in a statement. The Opelika plant produces passenger car tires under brands BFGoodrich and Uniroyal. The company said it would provide separation pay and other benefits to the laid-off workers. Michelin, like many other auto equipment suppliers, is reeling from an auto sales plunge amid prolonged recession that has pushed automakers General Motors and Chrysler into government aid to prevent their collapse. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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