Michelin North America Inc. has begun a temporary “phased” shutdown of some it its tire production plants in the United States and Canada in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michelin said in a late Friday announcement that suspension of some manufacturing will begin immediately and, “based on the current outlook, will last for at least two weeks.”
When asked for details, Michelin North America spokesmen declined to say which plants would be affected, but a news release said, “The affected production currently excludes vital and critical tires for the country’s economic continuity.”
Michelin makes tires for all types of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy duty trucks and motorcycles.
Michelin North America is based in Greenville and employs about 22,700 people across the continent. The company operates 19 major manufacturing plants, including seven in South Carolina, as well as a distribution warehouse in Duncan.
Michelin's Lexington plant, located at 2420 Two Notch Road, was established in 1981 and underwent a $200 million expansion announced in 2011. The 1.2 million-square-foot passenger and light truck tire facility employs around 1,400 people.
“Michelin remains focused on the health and well-being of its employees and communities, and the company is developing plans and revising policies to mitigate the financial impacts of this temporary shutdown on its employees,” the news release said. “The company will continue to follow closely all guidelines and directions from state, local or provincial governments, with the goal of limiting the spread of the virus and consequences of the pandemic for employees, customers and partners.”
The news release said distribution and logistics activities will support customers through existing inventories.
“The company is monitoring conditions closely and has established appropriate contingency plans, prepared to adjust as the situation evolves,” the news release said.
In January, Michelin was ranked the most admired tire manufacturer by Fortune magazine in its World’s Most Admired Companies list for 2020. Michelin was ranked third among all auto parts makers in the ranking.