HANOVER, Germany-Continental A.G. plans to scale back production of passenger tires at its 56-year-old Hanover-Stoecken facility by two-thirds during the next three years.
The company will offset the cutback partially by increasing commercial vehicle tire production at the facility, and transferring to it the molded goods business of the Hanover-Limmer factory. However, some job cuts are expected.
Conti employs approximately 4,500 workers at the two facilities.
The German-owned company notified workers at the Limmer plant in May the operation will be phased out over a four-year period, starting in 1997.
Hanover is Conti's highest-cost manufacturing site in Europe. Efforts to reduce costs have proved insufficient, especially in comparison with lower-cost facilities in Portugal and Czech Republic. Experiments with weekend shift work in Hanover didn't yield sufficient results, a company spokesman said.
The company plans to reduce annual passenger tire production to 1.1 million units from 3.3 million, while increasing truck and industrial tire output an as-yet undetermined amount beyond the current level of 800,000 units.
Conti declined to be specific about which types of passenger tires will still be produced at Stoecken. The manufacturer acknowledged production at Stoecken will be linked at least in part to the European tire technical activities being consolidated at the facility.
At the same time, Conti revealed it will concentrate production of passenger tires for original equipment customers in Europe at four plants-Aachen and Korbach, Germany, and Clairoix and Saareguemines, France.
Stephan Kessel will head the manufacturer's reorganized OE tire business.