PARIS (Oct. 22)—In line with its ongoing cost reduction program, Groupe Michelin will shut one German and two English facilities during 2002, resulting in 1,682 job losses. In England, Michelin will close its Burnley truck tire by March and Stoke-on-Trent steel cord and mold repair workshops by September, idling 732 workers. These decisions are considered part of Michelin's "competitiveness improvement plan" initiated two years ago. In Germany, Michelin will close its St. Ingbert semi-finished products plant, leading to about 216 job losses. The decision to close the English plants is not related to plant performance but is a function of plant size in relation to Michelin's long-term strategy, the company said. In both instances, the investment needed to increase capacity would be prohibitive; current production can be accommodated at less cost in larger plants and achieve economies of scale for the long-term. Michelin's other plants in the British Isles—a truck and bus tire plant in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, a passenger tire plant in Dundee, Scotland, and a truck tire retreading operation at Stoke-on-Trent—are all unaffected by these announcements.