BFNAT Decides to Ax Oklahoma City Plant - Tire Review Magazine

BFNAT Decides to Ax Oklahoma City Plant

(Akron/Tire Review) Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire has decided that it will close its Oklahoma, City, Okla., passenger and light truck/SUV tire plant. The plant, which opened in 1969, employs some 1,400 workers.

The plant will be closed by Dec. 31, according to BFNAT.

“This is a very difficult decision for everyone, especially since we’ve had such a great relationship with the Oklahoma City community for nearly 40 years,” said Steve Brooks, BFNAT vice president of manufacturing operations. “But the reality is this plant produces tires in the low-end segment of the market where demand is shrinking and fierce competition from low-cost producing countries is increasing. Even with substantial new investment, global market forces make it virtually impossible to restore the plant to a competitive position and stem the huge losses.”

BFNAT announced in April that it was considering closing the plant, which was once operated by Dayton Tire. Subsequent to that announcement, BFNAT met with the United Steelworkers to discuss alternatives to closure of the plant.

“Unfortunately, during those discussions neither the company nor the union could devise a viable solution to the problem that confronts the Oklahoma City tire plant: namely that the plant is not competitive in the global marketplace and is suffering substantial ongoing losses,” the company said in a statement.

“This decision was made only after serious consideration of our alternatives. We met with the union but we were unable to come up with a solution to make the plant globally competitive. In addition, the market is quickly running away from the products we produce in Oklahoma City,” Brooks said. “It’s unfortunate because our teammates have worked hard and the government leaders in Oklahoma have been extremely supportive.”

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