ARDMORE, Okla., Oct. 26, 2023 ─ Michelin North America has informed employees, customers, community leaders and other public stakeholders that the Company will begin winding down tire production at its Ardmore site, with the goal of completing the process by year-end 2025 or sooner. Rubber-mixing operations at the Ardmore factory are expected to continue.
The wind-down decision impacts approximately 1,400 people associated with tire-manufacturing activities (excluding additional contractors) at the Ardmore site, which has produced passenger tires since 1970. Tire production will gradually shift to Michelin’s other passenger-tire plants in North America.
In line with Michelin’s values of Respect, the Company is committed to support employees, the community and partners throughout this transition. Specific details will be discussed directly with employees starting today, and through individual conversations over the coming weeks.
North America’s passenger-vehicle market is changing rapidly and profoundly. Despite substantial investments over the past five years to improve technical capabilities and competitiveness, Michelin has concluded that the Ardmore factory is not equipped to deliver tires at competitive costs that will meet these evolving market demands in the coming years. Continuing investments to modernize the Ardmore plant would negatively impact other U.S. sites in the network.
Fundamental market conditions driving Michelin’s decision include:
- the dominance of light trucks and cross-over vehicles in North America, which require ever-larger tire sizes;
- dynamic market transition to electric vehicles; and
- customers’ requirements for continual improvements in rolling resistance and other sustainable materials technologies.
Taken together, these factors add substantial complexity to the Company’s portfolio, which in turn requires much greater industrial flexibility.
Precise timing has not been determined for specific phases of the wind-down. Based on the current outlook for market demand, however, operations at the Ardmore plant are expected to continue trending gradually lower until mid-2024, when the first wave of staffing reductions will occur. Additional reductions are expected to occur in phases through 2025 as transition plans are finalized.
Michelin’s rubber-mixing operations at the Ardmore plant supply other factories in North America. After tire-manufacturing activities wind down, these rubber-mixing operations are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
“Michelin has strived to be a good steward in every chapter for this plant and community. Winding down operations is the hardest of all business decisions,” said Terry Redmile, senior vice president of manufacturing for Michelin Group’s Americas Zone.
“The Company has carefully explored every other option before resolving this decision,” Redmile said. “In the months ahead, we’ll work through every stage of the transition with a deep sense of stewardship for the Ardmore community. Our goal is to provide individual support for each person at the Ardmore site to start a new chapter in the best way possible. This also includes starting conversations with local and state-level leaders to determine the best ways to lend support for this community even after the transition.”
Michelin idled its operations at the factory starting Thursday morning, Oct. 26, to begin the process of presenting details about the transition directly to each team member. Operations are expected to resume normally early on Saturday, Oct 28.
Over the coming days and weeks, representatives for the Company will discuss separation benefits individually with each person who works in the factory. Michelin will offer retention bonuses going forward to achieve a smooth transition for employees and customers. When staffing reductions begin in 2024, Michelin will offer a combination of early retirement, separation benefits and financial incentives for relocation support. Specific details have not yet been released, allowing for individual discussions that begin with employees in the coming days.