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Michelin to close Kitchener plant

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Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. is closing its Kitchener, Ontario, tire plant on July 22, 2006.

The reason cited was overcapacity in the mass market passenger tire segment in North America.

The plant, built in 1962, produces BFGoodrich, Uniroyal and private and associate brand tires, primarily for the U.S. market. It has the capacity to produce 18,500 passenger and light tires per day, according to Modern Tire Dealer research.

BFGoodrich Tire Manufacturing, a business of Michelin North America (Canada) Inc., reports the company will shift production to BFGoodrich plants in Tuscaloosa and Opelika, Ala., and Fort Wayne, Ind.

"The decision to close the Kitchener plant was very difficult," said Guy Pekle, president of Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. "BFGoodrich has made significant investment in the plant, as well as its three other North American plants; however, overcapacity continues to exist in this segment of the market. The competitive nature of today's tire industry requires the company to invest and maintain production in the plants that can compete successfully in an increasingly difficult global market."

The Kitchener plant has approximately 1,100 wage and salaried employees.

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