Following the news that Michelin intends to close its plant in Dundee, with the potential loss of almost 850 jobs, The Courier looks back at the factory’s near 50-year history in the city.
Scotland’s only tyre manufacturing plant opened in the early 1970s after a small team from France toured potential sites for a new factory and settled on farmland near Baldovie, in the north-east of Dundee.
The land was bought for £157,400 and the building of the £4 million plant began.
The first tyre came out of Michelin’s now sprawling site on November 6 1972, 46 years ago today.
Within four years staff had churned out five million more.
For engineers and craftsmen the company offered a strong future and the facility instantly became one of Dundee’s major industrial employers, alongside NCR and Timex.
Factory capacity was increased in 1978 and innovations in the industry became part of the Michelin ethos, with the revolutionary run-flat tyre being produced in 1983.
When global revenue fell in 2009 Michelin cut hours and production rather than lay off any of the 800 staff in Dundee.
But the plant was earmarked for closure in the late 2000s before being granted a reprieve from the executive board in Clermont-Ferrand in France.
It went on to become one of the global tyre giant’s most efficient facilities after an operational overhaul.
The multi-million-pound injection allowed the establishment of a new production line for the company’s flagship environmentally-friendly low-rolling-resistance tyres.
Michelin celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012, before welcoming the Queen to open the plant’s massive expansion in 2016.
The investment included new machinery, to boost production capacity by 30%, and a 20,000 square-metre warehouse.
At the time bosses said it would secure jobs in the city “for decades to come”.
In November 2015 it was announced the Michelin site in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, would close, and many staff were offered jobs at Baldovie. Production ended there in April this year.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited last June to announce a £16m investment in the plant, with £4m of it to be from the Scottish Government.
Two wind turbines were installed at the facility in 2006 in an investment in the site.
They have since generated tens of millions of electricity units – enough to power thousands of homes or brew millions of cups of tea.
Recently, Michelin’s robust apprentice scheme has been a huge success and, overall, the plant ploughs £45m into the economy every year.
Last year plans were announced to replace the Baldovie incinerator.
MVV Energy had planned to provide the neighbouring Michelin site with heat and power from the new waste facility.