Cooper Tire Europe, a subsidiary of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., is exploring ceasing production in Melksham, United Kingdom, of tires for cars, light trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUV), Cooper Tire reported today.

Subject to employee consultation, Cooper Tire Europe is exploring obtaining tires from other sites within the broader Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. global manufacturing footprint. That move and other related changes could result in about 300 positions out of 732 across Cooper Tire Europe becoming unnecessary over a period of 10 months, the company reported.

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 tires would also continue in Melksham.

“The Melksham tire production facility, in its present form, is not competitive within the Cooper global manufacturing network or the tire industry at large,” the company said.

The Melksham site is an older, smaller facility which does not offer economies of scale. It is Cooper Tire’s highest cost production site, the company added.

“It is Cooper Tire Europe’s current view, subject to consultation, that it is not economically feasible to expand or update the facility” to meet production needs for car, light truck and SUV tires, the company said.

“The goal of the proposed change is to ensure Cooper Tire Europe is best placed for future success in a cost-competitive, globalized environment,” Cooper Tire said.

“If positions are made redundant (unnecessary), Cooper will remain committed to doing all we can to support those employees who may potentially be affected,” said Jaap van Wessum, general manager of Cooper Tire Europe. “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.”

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