CARLISLE, Pa. (July 29, 2009)—Carlisle Tire & Wheel Co. is planning to close its longtime tire manufacturing plant in Carlisle and open a facility in Jackson, Tenn., the company announced.
The Jackson plant will consolidate operations not only from Carlisle, but also from the firm's former factory in Bowdon, Ga., and from some of CTW's Chinese manufacturing operations, said Carlisle Tire President Fred A. Sutter.
CTW plans to phase out production at Carlisle over the next 12 to 15 months, according to Sutter. The plant employs about 340 workers—20 percent salaried, the rest hourly—down from a peak of 600-800. The company has already asked some of the Carlisle employees to transfer to Jackson, and any employee who wants to transfer there will receive a relocation allowance, Sutter said.
Employees also will have opportunities to transfer to other facilities within the company if they wish, or be offered retention bonuses and outplacement services to help them make the transition to other opportunities, he said.
Closure of the Carlisle tire plant does not mean CTW and its parent firm, Carlisle Companies Inc., will desert the town that gave the company its name, CTW said.
The company will still have a 260,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in Carlisle, employing 67. Also, the Carlisle Construction Materials plant in Carlisle—the largest operation in the company, employing 475—will remain there, the company said.
The firm also will keep tire research and development in Carlisle for the foreseeable future, Sutter said.
Negotiations to buy the 568,000-sq-ft. Jackson facility are ongoing, according to Sutter, but he said he did not envision any reason why the purchase would not go through. He did not disclose the purchase price.
Since the Bowdon plant burned in November 2008, Carlisle has searched nationwide for a replacement facility while conducting temporary manufacturing operations in a leased plant in Heflin, Ala., the company said.
Sutter expects the firm to phase in production at Jackson over the next 15 to 18 months. The plant will specialize in agricultural and construction tires, but also will produce some high-end commercial outdoor power equipment tires, he said.
According to Sutter, the Jackson site was chosen partly because of its location—Jackson is between Nashville and Memphis—making it close to most of CTW's agricultural and construction customers.
It also has room for expansion and will allow the company to institute lean manufacturing technologies to reduce downtime, speed delivery to customers and improve profitability, Sutter said.
As for the firm's Chinese capacity, Carlisle is phasing out pneumatic tire production at one of its two tire plants in Buji, China, and transferring most of that capacity to its plant in Meizhou, China. Production of semi-pneumatic industrial tires will continue at the second Buji plant, Sutter said.
Carlisle also operates a recreational vehicle tire plant in Clinton, Tenn., and industrial wheel plants in Aiken, S.C., and Ontario, Calif.