Status quo in Oklahoma City, says Bridgestone/Firestone

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No decision has been made about the closing of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC's Oklahoma City, Okla., plant, says a company spokesman.

In late April, Bridgestone/Firestone announced it may shutter the plant "on or about" Dec. 31, 2006.

It also has delivered a “Notice of Potential Plant Closure” to the United Steelworkers.

The factory lost $40 million in 2005 and is on track to lose some $60 million this year.

"Global market forces have made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to restore the plant to a competitive position, even with significant new capital investment," said Bridgestone/Firestone officials.

"While competition is intense in all product segments, it is especially so at the low-end of the market, where demand is also shrinking. These are the types of tires the Oklahoma City plant is equipped to make."

The Oklahoma City plant can produce more than 40,000 passenger tires and some 8,000 light truck tires per day at full capacity, according to Modern Tire Dealer research. It employs more than 1,420 people.

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