After half a century of making tires in Oklahoma, the Ardmore tire plant is closing.
Michelin announced it plans to close its tire plant in Ardmore, putting nearly 1,400 employees on the unemployment line. It is the city’s largest employer and the shutdown could mean a rocky and rough economic road for southern Oklahoma.
The French-based company said the closing is scheduled by the end of 2025 and the first wave of “staffing reductions” is expected to begin in the middle of 2024.
The company’s announcement described it as a move to “wind down the tire production activities of its Ardmore industrial site.” The Ardmore plant has been producing passenger tires since 1970.
What’s behind the closing? Michelin explained the decision was lilnked to the North American market’s shifting needs and transformations and the site not being equipped to deliver tires at competitive costs to meet the evolving market demands.
The plant is located in Congressman Tom Cole’s district and he offered an immediate reaction.
“This news is certainly a shock and disappointment to the Ardmore community and surrounding areas as approximately 1,400 jobs will be affected,” said Cole. “My office will continue to monitor the situation and work with community leaders in any way we can to ensure the community’s and employees’ needs are taken care of.”
Michelin was founded in 1889 and provides tires to more than 170 countries. It has 69 production plants around the world.
In its announcement, the company stated it “will record a provision of approximately 200 million euros in non-recurring expenses in its consolidated financial results for the year 2023.
The Ardmore plant was built in 1969 by Uniroyal Goodrich. It was on the verge of being closed in 1990 when Michelin bought the facility. Then in May of 1995, a tornado destroyed the 1.5 million suare-foot plant. More than 300 employees escaped serious harm when they fled to concrete bunkers. Operations were halted for nearly six weeks as repairs were made.
At the time, the plant was a workplace for more than 2,000 employees.