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Goodyear to move Europe center

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Tire Business

BISSEN, Luxembourg—Goodyear is planning to relocate its European technical center to an automotive campus being built on the site of the company's former steel wire factory in Bissen, a few miles southwest of the center's current location in Colmar-Berg.

The move should take place by 2018 and will involve about 1,000 scientists, engineers and technicians from Goodyear's European Innovation Center, according to information from Goodyear and the government of Luxembourg.

The Luxembourg Automotive Campus is an initiative of the Luxembourg government. Goodyear and another automotive supplier, IEE S.A., also will relocate its operations to the Bissen site.

The parties did not disclose the projected investment in converting the 34.5-acre site to the new campus. The federal government will buy the site once Goodyear completes demolishing its structures there.

The wire factory has been idle since 2011 when Goodyear sold its global tire reinforcement wire business to South Korea's Hyosung Corp.

The project includes plans for shared infrastructure, such as research labs and buildings, conference rooms, catering areas and exhibition spaces, according to Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg's deputy prime minister and minister of the economy.

“By centralizing these R&D activities, the Luxembourg Automotive Campus will provide professional automotive equipment and service providers with new tools and infrastructure, enabling them to remain dynamic—and thus also innovative and competitive—in a market in constant evolution,” he said in a statement.

The campus will be built to accommodate up to 4,000 employees, he said. The government estimates the automotive components sector in Luxembourg employs more than 10,000 and generates annual revenue of $1.65 billion.

In a statement, Jean-Claude Kihn, president, Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa, said creating the automotive campus “will foster business growth opportunities within the European automotive sector for Goodyear, its campus partners and the country of Luxembourg.

“As a founding partner and one of the first to locate a new facility at the campus, Goodyear looks forward to collaborating with other progressive companies on the design, testing and incubation of new concepts.” Kihn said.

“Innovation excellence is a core element of Goodyear's strategy. The company has been practicing a philosophy of open innovation around the globe for many years. Now we will expand it further by joining the automotive campus. In this way, Goodyear continues to play an active role in the development of Luxembourg's future economy.”

Carlos Cipollitti, general director, Goodyear Innovation Center Luxembourg, added that becoming a founding partner of the campus is a “logical next step for Goodyear. Bringing Goodyear Luxembourg's non-manufacturing teams together at a single location will foster increased collaboration, improved efficiency and further advance our ability to work as "One Team.' “

Goodyear did not say what it intends to do with the space occupied by the European Innovation Center on the grounds of its truck and OTR tire factory in Colmar-Berg.