BAMBERG, Germany—Michelin is considering the future of its car tire production plant in Bamberg as demand continues to fall for smaller-rim tire sizes.
The plant, which specializes in the production of smaller-sized passenger car tires, is facing "substantial difficulties" as competition from Chinese manufacturers increases and European drivers gravitate toward vehicles with larger tires, according to Maira Tuerk, site and change communication manager at Michelin Reifenwerke A.G.
"The range of low-budget products has developed rapidly, (and) since 2010, the market share of the 16-inch premium segment has dropped from 60 percent to 40 percent," Tuerk said.
The French tire maker has entered into negotiations with the works council of the plant and unions to examine options for the future of the site.
"We are in a difficult situation and are looking at all the options," Tuerk said. "The negotiations have just begun and are at a very early stage."
These talks, she noted, are expected to take several weeks.
Operational since 1971, the Bamberg plant employs around 850 and manufactures 8 million tires per year.
The announcement comes less than a year after Michelin unveiled plans to shut down another small-sized tire production plant in Dundee, Scotland, impacting 845 jobs.
Following intensive talks with Scottish authorities, Michelin has agreed to repurpose the Dundee site to a "flagship innovation center" once it ceases to produce tires in mid-2020.