VIDEO: We ask Michelin Dundee boss…Why is factory closing? When will job losses begin? Any hope site can be saved?

The manager of Dundee’s Michelin plant has explained the firm’s decision to close the city site.

Factory manager John Reid sat down with The Courier on Tuesday morning – not long after hundreds of staff were formally handed the devastating news.

Michelin Dundee manager John Reid at the site.

The French tyre manufacturer announced the factory would close by “at least 2020” due to a decline in the market for its products, despite £60 million of investment in recent years.

Mr Reid said the decision to close the site was not influenced by Brexit, and added he had “reassured” workers that “they have my commitment to support them throughout the coming months, 20 months as it will be, to try and find the best outcomes for each and every one of them”.

“The problem we’re facing is a significant global market change,” he said.

“So there’s a structural change in the car tyre market which is being driven by cheap Asian imports fluttering into Europe, and the ongoing and growing trend of car manufacturers looking for bigger tyres.

“As you know in Dundee we only produce the 16in (tyre) and below, so we produce the smaller parts of the ranges. And it’s that very market segment that has been hit hard by these two effects.”

Michelin confirms plans to close Dundee tyre factory, with loss of 850 jobs

When asked if the site could adapt and be re-purposed, he said: “In theory it can, we’ve looked at two different options. Can we make 18in tyres and above? The challenge there is that the cost is very significant and the capacity already exists in Michelin Europe.

“The other option would be to try and compete with the low cost brands. Frankly, that’s not possible within a Michelin western plant.”

On the job losses, Mr Reid added: “Our focus will be to allow people to leave when they find a job. Our commitment to the work force will be, when you find a job – you can leave. we’re not going to try and constrain that in anyway.”

For more, watch the video above.