German rubber industry 'sounds alarm' amid tire plant closure moves
1 Dec 2023
“We'll be gone,” warns WDK president in a statement following extensive cuts by two major tire makers
Frankfurt, Germany – German rubber industry association (WDK) has sounded the alarm bell over the future of the sector in the wake of wholesale cutbacks lanuched by two major tire makers in Germany.
“We'll be gone,” warned Michael Klein WDK president in a 29 Nov statement, calling for "massive political support" to prevent an overseas "exodus" of German-based tire and rubber product manufacturers.
In particular, Klein warned of the dangerous departures of R&D departments from Germany, which he said impact not only the production but also the “promising know-how”.
The statement came a day after Michelin announced a series of tire plant closures (ERJ report), and similar moves by Goodyear just two weeks before (ERJ report) –with tne combined loss of over 3,250 jobs.
Klein linked the demise to the “political framework” in Germany which, he said, had failed to mitigate issues such as high energy costs that have weakened the country’s competitiveness even within Europe.
While small and medium enterprises (SMEs) continue have their long-standing loyalty to location, international corporations are reassessing their commitment to Germany, WDK officials added.
However, SMEs are facing the same ‘location problems’ as the international companies that are withdrawing from Germany, continued WDK, warning of "a slow death of industries in Germany."
According to Klein, Germany's “increasingly restrictive and burdensome" economic policies could eventually lead to economic, social and political fragmentation.
WDK is the umbrella organisation of German manufacturers of tires and technical elastomer products.
The Frankfurt-based association represents more than 200 companies with almost 70,000 employees and a total annual turnover of more than €10 billion.