Tire Business report
Erdington, UK - Dunlop Motorsport Europe has completed the transfer of race tire production to Goodyear Dunlop plants in France and Germany from its Fort Dunlop factory in Erdington, where the firm’s lease on the 99-year-old factory is expiring.
Dunlop Motorsport, a unit of Goodyear Dunlop UK Ltd., transferred capacity for competition car tires to a Goodyear Dunlop plant in Hanau, Germany, which produces ultra-high-performance tires and is the base of the main Dunlop European Technical centre, and competition motorcycle tires to Montluçon, France, which makes both street and track two-wheeler tires.
Goodyear Dunlop did not specify what the transfer process cost or what has become of the 240 or so employees at the Erdington plant.
Goodyear Dunlop disclosed in May 2013 it had lost the lease on the Fort Dunlop property and had begun to develop a “contingency plan to ensure continued supply of our motorsport tires to our key customers,” according to Jean-Felix Bazelin, general manager, Dunlop Motorsport Europe.
Jack Dromey, a Labour Party member of Parliament for Erdington, tweeted on May 30, the day production ceased: “A day of shame as Goodyear Dunlop ends 125 years of Birmingham manufacturing at Dunlop Motorsport factory in Erdington.”
He followed up a day later with: “The Dunlop Motorsport workers can be proud of who they are, good men & women, loyal, long-serving but betrayed by Goodyear 3,500 miles away.”
In addition to the manufacturing and executive units in Europe, Dunlop Motorsport maintains a fleet of 23 service trucks to transport tires throughout Europe to more than 200 races and tests per year.
Operations are under the overall control of Bazelin. Gary Wassell handles the car side of the business and Jason Dee the motorcycles.
Other senior engineers and race management figures include Patrice Omont, director, Tyre Technology, Motorcycle and Motorsports.