NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 28) — Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire has advised the United Steelworkers union that it may close its Oklahoma City plant on or about Dec. 31.
Global market forces have made it "extremely difficult, if not impossible" to make the plant competitive once again, even with "significant" capital investments, the Nashville-based tire maker said in a statement.
BFS said it is willing to negotiate with the union about the closure.
"In general, the tire industry in the United States is facing a number of serious economic issues," said Steve Brooks, vice president of manufacturing operations for BFS. "Significant among them is fierce competition from low-cost producing countries, which has made it very difficult for U.S.-based production facilities to manufacture tires at a profit."
The Oklahoma City plant, BFS said, makes tires at the low end of the market, where competition is particularly intense and demand is shrinking.
The plant began production in 1969 and produces radial passenger and light truck tires. The plant employs more than 1,420 workers.