On October 26, 2023, Michelin North America announced it would begin winding down tire production at its plant in Ardmore, Oklahoma, with the goal of completing the shutdown by year-end 2025 or sooner. Capacity, which is listed at 23,000 units/day for passenger tires, will be gradually shifted to other Michelin plants in North America. Rubber-mixing operations at the site are expected to continue. The move will affect 1,400 employees. The plant began operations in 1970 as part of Uniroyal and was acquired by Michelin in 1989. Michelin's other tire plants with capacity for passenger tires in North America are located in Fort Wayne, IN; Greenville & Lexington, SC; and Tuscaloosa, AL.
According to Michelin, the decision was made because the Ardmore plant, despite substantial investments over the last five years, is not equipped to deliver tires at competitive costs for the changing North American market.
In particular, Michelin cited the following market conditions:
the dominance of light trucks and cross-over vehicles in North America, which require ever-larger tire sizes;
dynamic market transition to electric vehicles;
and customers’ requirements for continual improvements in rolling resistance and other sustainable materials technologies.
The timing of the production wind-down has not been determined. Based on the current outlook for market demand, however, operations at the Ardmore plant are expected to continue trending gradually lower until mid-2024, when the first wave of staffing reductions will occur. Additional reductions are expected to occur in phases through 2025 as transition plans are finalized. Michelin’s rubber-mixing operations at Ardmore supply other factories in North America. After tire-manufacturing activities wind down, these rubber-mixing operations are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.