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'Labor and management must find ways to keep U.S. plants competitive,' Ludwig says

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"As 2008 drew to a close, there were 21 plants making consumer tires in the U.S. In 2000, there were 28 plants, but by the end of 2009, there may be only 18," said Saul Ludwig in the latest installment of the "Ludwig Report" in Modern Tire Dealer magazine. 

"High wages and heavy legacy costs (pensions and health care) make it difficult to compete with new plants in China, Latin America and Eastern Europe where wages are lower and legacy costs are almost non-existent.

"Labor and management must find a way for our U.S. plants to be more competitive, otherwise the long-term trend of plant closings will continue."

Ludwig is a managing director with KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., based in Cleveland, Ohio. Look for the full "Ludwig Report" in the January issue of Modern Tire Dealer magazine.

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