HANOVER, Germany (March 17, 2009)—Continental A.G. has defended itself against what it calls unjustified criticism over its decision to stop or adjust production at European tire plants.
The company recently announced it is closing its Clairoix, France, factory, halting truck tire production at its Hanover plant, and reducing production at its Puchov, Slovakia, facility.
The works council of the Hanover plant has said the decision is illegal. Gerhard Wente, Conti executive board member, said the assertions are unfounded.
The company said the Hanover production plan for 2009 already had to be reduced at the end of 2008 to 930,000 tires from 1.28 million, resulting in a staff surplus of 168 employees.
Moving to shorter working hours “would just postpone, but not prevent the eventual closure of the plant,” said Hans-Joachim Nikolin, another Conti executive board member.
The company said that even a significant double-digit market recovery in 2010, from a substantially lower level, would lead to under-utilization of capacity in Hanover by as much as 70 percent.