NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 1, 2008)— Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire L.L.C. will lay off 148 hourly and at least 10 salaried employees beginning Dec. 21 at its LaVergne, Tenn., factory and could eliminate production of passenger and light truck tires at the facility eventually.
The LaVergne plant, which has about 1,700 active employees, makes truck and bus tires in addition to passenger and light truck tires. The layoffs come as a reaction to decreased demand for passenger and light truck tires.
Although the tire maker previously adjusted production levels to address slowing demand, it said that because of the increasing impact of the global economic crisis—which has resulted in a further weakening and a decrease in demand in the North American tire market—BFS will take this additional step to reduce manufacturing capacity in North America. The drop in demand for consumer tires has resulted in a growth in inventory, and continuing consumer tire production, even at the current adjusted levels, will only exacerbate the situation and add to that inventory, the company said.
BFS said it has advised representatives of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union that it may be necessary to cease most or all passenger and light truck tire production at the LaVergne facility. No decision has been made yet.
The announcement of the company's intention to seriously consider elimination of consumer tire production at the LaVergne facility will have no impact on the plant's production of truck and bus tires, according to the company.