Cooper Tire Europe considers stopping light vehicle tire production at Melksham, UK, plant

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe is entering a consultation period to explore ceasing light vehicle tire production at its Melksham site in Wiltshire, UK, over a period of 10 months.

Subject to consultation, light vehicle tires currently manufactured in Melksham may be obtained by Cooper Tire Europe from other sites within Cooper’s global manufacturing footprint to meet customer needs.

Following consultation, if light vehicle tire production at Melksham is phased out, approximately 300 positions out of 732 across Cooper Tire Europe could ultimately be made redundant.

Melksham would remain the home of Cooper Tire Europe’s headquarters, sales and marketing offices, Europe Technical Centre and materials business. It is expected that production of motorsport and motorcycle tires would also continue in Melksham.

Jaap van Wessum, general manager – Cooper Tire Europe, said, “We know the prospect of making positions redundant is difficult for our colleagues and the local community to consider. Yet for Cooper Tire Europe to thrive into the long-range future, remaining a large Melksham-based employer, and meeting our obligations, we must explore obtaining light vehicle tires from locations other than Melksham.

“Pending consultation, if positions are made redundant, Cooper will remain committed to doing all we can to support those employees who may potentially be affected.

“We will be consulting with our recognized trade union, Unite, and other employee representatives, and have arranged additional support for affected colleagues, which will be available throughout this process.

“In addition, we will work closely with Wiltshire Council and the Department for Work and Pensions to provide the best possible support to our colleagues and community.

“It is essential for Cooper to be globally competitive in the tire industry. To deliver on our strategic growth objectives, we must produce quality light vehicle tires in high volumes and at a competitive cost. Unfortunately, the Melksham site is an older, smaller facility that does not offer economies of scale and it is the highest cost facility in the global Cooper network.

“Due to facility age and location in the center of town, it is our current view, subject to consultation, that it is not economically feasible to modernize or expand there for light vehicle tire production.

“It is important to underscore that if we ultimately cease light vehicle tire production in Melksham, Cooper is not leaving the Melksham community. It is the home of Cooper Tire Europe’s headquarters, sales and marketing offices, Europe Technical Centre, and materials business.

“We plan to continue manufacturing specialized motorsport and motorcycle tires at the Melksham plant. If redundancies occur, Cooper Tire Europe will still employ hundreds locally and continue to honor its existing obligations.”

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the ground-breaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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