Michelin to Close Oklahoma Tire Plant, Laying Off 1,400 American Workers

A worker loads automotive tires onto a conveyor belt at the Continental Tire Sumter plant
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Executives with France-based Michelin announced that they will soon close a tire production plant in Ardmore, Oklahoma, laying off 1,400 American workers in the process. The decision comes as cheap foreign imported tires from low-wage countries flood the United States market.

On Thursday, Michelin executives said they would wind down production at the Ardmore plant. Supporting industries and local businesses are likely to take a hit as well.

The plant has produced passenger tires for more than five decades, dating back to 1970, and it is a vital employer for the community of about 25,000 residents — conveniently situated between Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Dallas, Texas.

Michelin executives wrote in a news release:

North America’s passenger-vehicle market is changing rapidly and profoundly. Despite substantial investments over the past five years to improve technical capabilities and competitiveness, Michelin has concluded that the Ardmore factory is not equipped to deliver tires at competitive costs that will meet these evolving market demands in the coming years. Continuing investments to modernize the Ardmore plant would negatively impact other U.S. sites in the network. [Emphasis added]

Initial layoffs will begin in mid-2024, with plans to fully close the plant by the end of 2025.

Though unmentioned by Michelin executives, American manufacturing plants continue to struggle as a result of the United States’ free trade policies.

For instance, while executives say the Ardmore plant cannot produce passenger tires at competitive prices, tires manufactured at the plant compete with cheap foreign imports from low-wage countries such as Thailand, Mexico, and Indonesia, where workers earn anywhere from $10 to $25 a day.

In Thailand, the largest exporter of passenger tires to the U.S. market, workers earn as little as $10 a day, which amounts to about $261 a month.

Last year, foreign imports of tires increased as more than 164 million passenger tires were imported to the U.S. market — up from 151 million passenger tires imported to the U.S. in 2021. Despite efforts by the federal government to rely less on China, the communist country was able to import 2.7 million passenger tires to the U.S. market in 2022.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here.


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