Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe Limited, a subsidiary of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is entering a consultation period to explore ceasing light vehicle tyre production at its Melksham site in Wiltshire over a period of 10 months. Subject to consultation, light vehicle tyres currently produced in Melksham may be obtained by Cooper Tire Europe from other sites within Cooper’s global manufacturing footprint to meet customer needs.
The goal of the proposed change is to ensure Cooper Tire Europe is best placed for future success in a cost-competitive, globalised environment, according to the company’s press statement.
Following consultation, if light vehicle tyre 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 motorsports and motorcycle tyres would also continue in Melksham.
The company, through Jaap van Wessum, General Manager of Cooper Tire Europe, assures that it will support those employees who may potentially be affected by the movement. “It is essential for Cooper to be globally competitive in the tyre industry. To deliver on our strategic growth objectives, we must produce quality light vehicle tyres 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, “ he explained.
Nevertheless, Cooper says it is not abandoning Melksham, being the site of Cooper Tire Europe’s headquarters, sales and marketing offices, Europe Technical Centre, and materials business. It is also continuing to manufacture specialised motorsports and motorcycle tyres at the Melksham plant.