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Titan consolidates manufacturing

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Titan International Inc. is consolidating all of its tire manufacturing into its Des Moines, Iowa, plant.

Titan has suspended production at its Brownsville, Texas, factory "until market demand requires additional capacity," according to Titan officials.

Brownsville will continue as a distribution center.

Titan's manufacturing facilities have been plagued by labor unrest and other problems for a number of years.

Prior to a 1998 labor dispute with the United Steelworkers of America that degenerated into the longest-running strike in tire industry history, Titan was pursuing an aggressive plan to boost its production capacity with the construction of the one million-square-foot Brownsville plant and acquiring bankrupt Fidelity Tire's factory in Natchez, Miss.

But production at the Natchez plant, like Titan's Des Moines operation, was severely impacted by striking Steelworkers.

Titan President and CEO Maury Taylor says the union's "strikes and their corporate campaign damaged Titan's financial position."

However, he says that Titan's costs are "competitive in the industry" and the company is now concentrating on building market share.

In addition, Titan is "maintaining adequate capacity to meet current and future demands without additional planned capital expenditures."

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