But despite tyre giant Goodyear Dunlop axing up to 420 jobs at its Wolverhampton factory – about 10 per cent of its total 4000-strong workforce in the UK – it is good news for retailers. By shifting production to the continent, Goodyear will be able to keep prices low while making sure supplies to dealers remain consistent.
Manufacturers can benefit from low labour rates and low production costs by moving production to other European companies. But Goodyear's Midlands factory will continue to make tractor tyres and produce a range of raw materials.
The company's factories in Washington, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Fort Dunlop, Birmingham, will continue to make car tyres.
The company took the decision because it has been unable to make products at a competitive cost level in the UK, despite increased productivity. A company spokesman claims that over the last few years the market has become increasingly competitive.
“This has driven the cost of tyres in the UK down, which is good news for consumers but presents manufacturers with the challenge of reducing the cost of making their products,” he says.
Asked what the future held for the company's remaining UK factories, the spokesman replies: “Goodyear Dunlop is working with UK unions to find ways of keeping production we already have here and making it more cost efficient and effective.”
The move follows the lead of Michelin and Uniroyal who also decided to move car tyre production from the UK to Europe.