BFNT's Oklahoma City plant will close next week

Dec. 13, 2006

Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC's (BFNT) Oklahoma City, Okla., passenger and light truck tire plant will officially close its doors on Friday, Dec. 22. The plant's last tire will be produced on Friday, Dec. 15.

"We're moving some of (the plant's) equipment to other locations," says Steve Brooks, vice president of manufacturing operations for BFNT.

Some larger equipment will be sent to BFNT's La Vergne, Tenn., and Wilson City, N.C., plants. "Some of the smaller equipment will go to our Latin America operations."

The Oklahoma City factory primarily manufactures broad-line tires, which BFNT says are in low demand. Some of the machines used to make these products may be auctioned off or simply scrapped, says Brooks.

"Even with substantial new investment, global market forces make it virtually impossible to restore the plant to a competitive position and stem the huge losses," Brooks said earlier this year.

"The market is quickly running away from the products we produce in Oklahoma City."

The Oklahoma City plant lost $40 million in 2005 and is on track to lose some $60 million this year, say BFNT officials.

The factory could manufacture 42,500 passenger and 8,000 light truck tires per day at full capacity, according to Modern Tire Dealer research.