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Nihon Michelin plans to specialize in Japan-only tire production in Ota

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Groupe Michelin says it will phase out longer export product from its Ota, Japan, tire manufacturing plant. Tire production will focus on "the specific, highly technological requirements of the local market."

Export production at the plant, under the direction of Nihon Michelin Tires Co. Ltd., represents close to 60% of the Ota facility's output.

The company says efforts will focus on Japanese demand for complex products like the X Ice tire, which was especially designed for the local market. "The objective is to provide Japanese customers with the most appropriate solutions in both the original equipment and replacement tire segments."

The Ota plant also will provide support to Michelin's R&D center in Asia, thus strengthening the Groupe's research operations in Japan.

The plan also will help to "effectively realign Michelin's industrial operations around the world."

Based on an initial estimate of the cost of the plan, a non-recurring expense of roughly 65 million euros will be recognized in the first half of 2007.

Nihon Michelin has operated in Japan since 1978. Its headquarters are located in Tokyo.

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