MELKSHAM, England—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. said it has entered a consultation period to explore ceasing light vehicle tire production at its manufacturing site in Melksham.
If it decides to go through with the move, 300 of the firm's 732 employees across Cooper Tire Europe would be impacted over a period of 10 months.
Cooper said that Melksham would remain the headquarters of Cooper Tire Europe's sales and marketing offices, its technical center and materials business. The firm expects to continue production of motorsports and motorcycle tires at the Melksham site.
"We know the prospect of making positions redundant is difficult for our colleagues and the local community to consider," Jaap van Wessum, general manager of Cooper Tire Europe, said in a statement. "Yet, for Cooper Tire Europe to thrive into the long-range future, remaining a large Melksham-based employer, and meeting our obligations, we must explore obtaining light vehicle tires from locations other than Melksham."
The firm said that the site is not competitive, adding that it is the highest cost production site and it is not economically feasible to expand or update the facility to meet Cooper's light vehicle tire needs.
The decision is subject to consultation. Light vehicle tires would be obtained by Cooper Tire Europe from other sites within the firm's global manufacturing footprint.
Cooper said that if positions are made redundant, it will remain committed to doing all it can to support those employees who may be affected.
"It is important to underscore that if we ultimately cease light vehicle tire production in Melksham, Cooper is not leaving the Melksham community," van Wessum said. "It is the home of Cooper Tire Europe's headquarters, sales and marketing offices, European technical center and materials business. We plan to continue manufacturing specialized motorsports and motorcycle tires at the Melksham plant. If redundancies occur, Cooper Tire Europe will still employ hundreds locally and continue to honor its existing obligations."