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COVID-19: Bridgestone, Apollo Vredestein suspend tire production in Europe

March 24, 2020
Chemical Value Chain

Bridgestone said on Monday that its plants across its European manufacturing network will be either temporarily closing or reducing production, in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Béthune, France, and Bari, Italy, plants will be closed until 6 April. In addition, Bridgestone’s Bilbao, Puente San Miguel, and Burgos plants in Spain; Lanklaar plant in Belgium; Stargard and Poznan plants in Poland; and Tatabanya plant in Hungary will all be running at a reduced production capacity.

The company says the changes are being made to align Bridgestone’s supply with predicted demand in the current market. The European car industry has cut its output significantly. Bridgestone says it has sufficient product supply to meet customer demand, and its distribution centers, plant warehouses, and logistics teams will continue to fill orders. The company will continue to evaluate the situation on a need basis.

In the locations that remain operational, Bridgestone is taking preventive measures in accordance with its protocols for the prevention of occupational hazards, and strictly following the guidance and recommendations of the health authorities in all its work centers. The plants in France and Italy employ a combined 1,750 people, while the remaining European factories have about 6,500 workers in total.

Separately, Apollo Vredestein (Amsterdam) is also scaling back tire production at its European plants in Hungary and the Netherlands. Production of passenger car tires in the Netherlands will cease as of 27 March 2020, initially for a two-week period. As there is a strong need for agricultural tires across Europe, production of specific critical tire sizes will continue to support this demand, but under strict measures and only in line with local health advisory.

Apollo Vredestein’s plant in Hungary is due to be shut down from 28 March 2020 for two weeks. Plans to fully reopen both plants will be announced in due course, the company says.

Last week, Goodyear said it was suspending tire production in the Americas and in Europe until at least 3 April. The European closures involve 11 plants located in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia, together employing 12,000 people.

By Natasha Alperowicz

Source: Chemical Week

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