Bridgestone has announced plans to close down its passenger car tyre production facility in Bari, Italy, stressing that the decision "will not have any effect on the other existing Group entities in Italy", which it views as one of the key markets in Europe.
In a press statement released on Tuesday, Bridgestone cited that "Despite repeated efforts to overhaul the Bari plant, it is to be regretted that given the structural decrease in demand, and the shift towards premium products, when combined with the factors already mentioned relative to other Bridgestone European plants, have left the Company with no other choice than to proceed with the closure of this site."
The decision followed a two-year review of the European and global tyre markets.
"This decision has been taken after a thorough analysis of all possible alternatives, but none of these were feasible," Bridgestone said, adding that car tyre demand in the European Union was likely to remain below pre-2011 levels until at least 2020.
Demand for tyres in the EU has fallen significantly and the sector is suffering increasing pressure from low-cost rivals in emerging markets.
"In response to these dynamics, Bridgestone Europe is reprioritising its production to focus on the premium segment of the market.
The plant, which started operations in 1962, is one of eight in Europe and employs over 900 people.
Image courtesy of Bridgestone Europe
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