Cooper Tire is closing one of its oldest and biggest factories. The Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe announced plans to shut down its UK tire manufacturing plant in Melksham by the end of 2023.
The plant has been around for over a century and employs more than 350 people. The company will start the consultation process on the closure. It will involve the employees and relevant representative bodies.
Gavin Champion, HR Director at The Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Europe, said: “It is with deep sadness that we have announced our intention to begin a consultation process on the proposed closure of our tire production facility at Melksham.
“Our Melksham site has struggled to be competitive for some considerable time and everyone involved has worked extremely hard to keep operations going for as long as possible. However, this has become increasingly challenging in the current business environment.
“We would like to confirm that these proposals are subject to consultation with relevant employee representative bodies, and we remain fully committed to act responsibly and fairly, and to provide appropriate support for everyone affected.”
Melksham MP Michelle Donelan said: “Disappointed to hear that Cooper Tires in Melksham will be closing down their factory site after 132 years of production.
“I will be meeting with representatives from Cooper Tires tomorrow to discuss their plan in greater detail.
“I know many local people will be concerned by the announcement and I will provide an update tomorrow following the meeting.”
The company stopped producing SUV and light vehicle tires in 2018 at its Bath Road factory. About 300 out of 732 people lost their jobs. The company switched production to Serbia.
Cooper Tire said at the time that the Melksham factory “in its present form is not competitive within the Cooper global manufacturing network or the tire industry at large.”
This is the highest-cost production facility and Cooper Tire said that it cannot update or expand it as this is not economically possible. The plant has been producing racing, motorcycle, and motorsport Cooper tires.
It was also the headquarters, Technical Center, and materials business center for Europe’s operations.