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International

11/10/2018

Avon Tyres has written to its motorcycle sector customers to reassure them that the proposed job losses at its Melksham factory do not affect the two-wheel sector.

The European arm of American parent company Cooper Tire & Rubber announced yesterday that it would be “entering consultation to explore ceasing light vehicle, or consumer car, tyre production at Melksham and obtaining such tyres from other facilities within the global Cooper Tire network”. Three hundred jobs will be lost in Wiltshire if the proposal goes ahead.

“I want to be clear that this action, which is subject to employee consultation, would not involve motorcycle tyres,” wrote Jaap van Wessum, general manager of Cooper Tire Europe. “We plan to keep the production of motorcycle tyres in Melksham and may have the opportunity to grow this business should we ultimately cease production of consumer car tyres. There will be no disruption in our service to you.”

He continued: “Unfortunately, the Melksham tyre production facility, in its present form, is not competitive within the Cooper global manufacturing network or the tyre industry at large. It is Cooper’s highest cost production site and it is our current view, subject to consultation, that it is not economically feasible to expand or update the facility to meet Cooper Tire Europe’s light vehicle tyre needs. Ceasing light vehicle tyre production could result in approximately 300 positions out of 732 across Cooper Tire Europe becoming redundant over a period of 10 months.

“If we ultimately cease light vehicle tyre production in Melksham, Cooper would not leave the Melksham community. It is the home of Cooper Tire Europe’s headquarters, sales and marketing offices and Europe Technical Centre. As noted earlier, we plan to continue our materials business and production of motorcycle tyres as well as motorsports tyres in Melksham.”

Wessum said the proposals were the best way for the company - the world’s seventh largest tyre manufacturer - to thrive in the long-term.

Back in August, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company reported second quarter 2018 net income of $15 million (£11.42 million).