GREENVILLE, S.C.—Michelin North America Inc. has begun to idle some of its tire plants in the U.S. and Canada as part of a "phased" suspension of manufacturing that will last for at least two weeks. The move is due to the broad effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michelin said the suspension of production will exclude "vital and critical tires for the country's economic continuity." It did not specify which plants would be idled, nor which tire types or lines are considered "vital and critical."
Michelin is considered a key U.S. military supplier.
The Greenville-based company operates a dozen tire factories in the U.S. and Canada, employing more than 13,500 hourly workers.
Distribution and logistics activities will continue to support customers through existing inventories, Michelin said. It also is monitoring conditions closely and has established appropriate contingency plans that it is prepared to adjust as the situation evolves.
Michelin said it remains focused on the health and well-being of its employees and communities. It is developing plans and revising policies to mitigate the financial impacts of this temporary shutdown on its employees.
The company said it will continue to follow closely all guidelines and directions from state, local and/or provincial governments, with the goal of limiting the spread of the virus and the consequences of the pandemic for employees, customers and partners.
Michelin on March 19, said that it temporarily would close facilities in European countries that have been most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Several tire makers have taken steps to close facilities as the coronavirus pandemic worsens across the globe.