Akron, Ohio – Goodyear Dunlop Tires Germany has announced plans to upgrade its tire production facilities in Hanau and Fulda, Germany, a move that is expected to lead to 1,100 job cuts at the sites.
The US tire maker said it is earmarking €106 million for the project, which will expand production of 17-inch and up tires by 2.5 million units per year.
At the same time, the company will reduce capacity for “small, less profitable tire sizes” at both plants, bringing the overall capacity at the two sites by 3 million units a year.
"We are constantly working to meet the rapidly changing needs of our customers, recognise customers and respond to them,” said Jürgen Titz, CEO of Goodyear Dunlop Tires Germany GmbH.
At the same time, due to the efficiency gains related to the use of newer equipment and new plant layouts, Goodyear said it expected to cut around 1,100 jobs at the two sites.
"Any downsizing involves an extremely difficult decision – but one that we have to meet to make both plants future-proof,” explained Titz.
The plan is subject to consultation with relevant employee representative bodies, Goodyear said.
The two factories, operated by Goodyear Dunlop Tires Germany GmbH, employ about 2,800 hourly workers currently — 1,300 in Hanau in western Germany and 1,500 in Fulda in central Germany.
In an SEC filing 19 March, Goodyear said it expected to improve its operating income for the Europe, Middle East and Africa by $60-70 million (€53-62 million) a year over three years beginning in 2020.
Both the Hanau and Fulda plants are rated at 21,000 passenger and light truck tires a day.
The Hanau plant originally was a Dunlop Holdings factory that Goodyear has operated since the formation of its global alliance with Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. in 1999.
The Fulda plant was operated independently by Gummiwerke Fulda G.m.b.H from its founding in 1900 until 1966 when Goodyear acquired it.
Goodyear has three other tire factories in Germany: in Wittlich (truck tires); Fuerstenwalde (passenger/light truck tires); and Riesa (passenger tires).
It closed another passenger tire plant, in Philippsburg, in mid-2017, a move that affected 890 workers at the 50-year-old plant.
ERJ sister publication Tire Business contributed to this report