Michelin to stop making tires in Ardmore
ARDMORE, Okla. (KTEN) — Michelin, Ardmore's biggest employer and a part of the local community for 53 years, told workers Thursday morning that it will be ending tire production at the Ardmore plant by the end of 2025.
The first wave of layoffs for the 1,400-person workforce is expected to begin by the middle of next year at the sprawling facility on the city's west side.
"Their closing down operations in the next year or so is very disappointing," said Ardmore City Manager Kevin Boatright. "Upset for the employees that we have here; We have a lot of people in our community, obviously, that work for Michelin in a lot of different capacities. Some have upwards of 40 years in our community."
Michelin said it will shift tire manufacturing to its other North America facilities, but expects to continue rubber-mixing operations in Ardmore to supply the remaining factories with raw materials.
The company explained that despite what it calls "substantial investments ... Michelin has concluded that the Ardmore factory is not equipped to deliver tires at competitive costs..."
“The Company has carefully explored every other option before resolving this decision,” said Michelin executive Terry Redmile in a written statement. “In the months ahead, we’ll work through every stage of the transition with a deep sense of stewardship for the Ardmore community. Our goal is to provide individual support for each person at the Ardmore site to start a new chapter in the best way possible. This also includes starting conversations with local and state-level leaders to determine the best ways to lend support for this community even after the transition.”
Michelin added that it will discuss "separation benefits" individually for every factory worker, along with retention bonuses "to achieve a smooth transition for employees and customers."
"One of the most important things is trying to look for those people that are going to be without a job in the next few months and try to find some place for them to land," Boatright said. "We have to start looking... as a city... start looking at the next budget cycle. We're going to have to look and see how that's going to financially effect the operations of the city, because it will."
SouthernTech Superintendent Eric Ward said Michelin employees use the school's facilities for training, but that could eventually come to an end.
"If that means we need to re-tool some of our programs to better meet the needs of other employers in the area, then that's what we'll do," he said.
Michelin operates 14 other facilities across the U.S. that manufacture vehicle and aircraft tires and components.
KTEN.com editor Walt Zwirko contributed to this report