CLERMONT-FERRAND, France—Michelin has notified workers at its La Roche-sur-Yon truck tire plant in France that it intends to close the 47-year-old factory by the end of 2020.
Michelin cited a "structural transformation" of the premium truck tire market, both in Europe and overseas, for its decision to close the factory in an Oct. 10 statement.
The French tire maker said it is offering each of the plant's 619 workers the opportunity to continue working for the company.
The move will not impact the workers at a rubber mixing workshop at Michelin's Cholet plant which supplies materials to the La Roche-sur-Yon site.
In addition to retirement measures, Michelin said it would offer the 74 people working at the Cholet rubber mixing plant new positions on the site.
The structural transformation, according to Michelin, includes a European market with no growth expected, intense competition and an expanding "entry-level" brand segment.
Michelin committed about $77 million in 2013 to transform the plant, consolidating truck tire capacity from another plant in Joue-les-Tours, France, but now concedes that effort did not achieve the desired improvements in productivity.
The tire maker said it reached the decision to close despite the commitment of the employees and the company's efforts to complete the Skipper project, which was aimed at reinforcing the activity of the La Roche-sur-Yon site.
Consolidating the Joue-les-Tours plant's capacity at Le-Roche-sur-Yon was expected to double the latter factory's capacity to roughly 1.6 million units a year.
Michelin also said it intends to launch an "ambitious initiative" to transform the site in the coming few weeks.
The company's priority now is to support each of the 619 employees to help them build their career.
Michelin will propose negotiating an agreement on a support scheme for employees favoring voluntary mobility in order to avoid forced departures.
As part of this negotiation, in addition to an early retirement program, Michelin will offer secured internal and external mobility schemes, to enable each employee the chance to continue on a good quality career pathway in the best possible conditions.
Michelin said its offer of a job within the company to all affected employees is possible because of the scale of expected retirements in the coming years. This will open up multiple position opportunities in other sites in France.
Michelin also will offer to support those employees who choose not to move to stay with the company and instead look for other work.