By Denna Bowman
The new boss of the Michelin tyres factory in Dundee is calling on the Scottish Government to provide substantial grant support for investment to safeguard its future.
John Reid warns that new technology is vital to secure the tyres plant’s survival and he is is putting proposals to Michelin executives and government ministers to ensure the company remains viable over the next three to five years.
Reid revealed the Dundee factory is aiming to specialise in tyres designed for the growing electric car market.
The recession of 2009 had a drastic effect on the company, which has been a major employer in Dundee since 1972. Global revenue fell by around 10 per cent worldwide with sales of tyres down nearly 15 per cent.
Along with several other employers, the Michelin factory cut hours and production rather than lay off any of its 800 employees in the second half of 2009.
Reid said: “Dundee is a good plant, but in the future there will only be excellent plants. There won’t be good plants. We have to drive harder to become an excellent factory. That is the next challenge over the next three to five years.”
Last month, Michelin invested £20 million in upgrading its Stoke-on-Trent factory, which was augmented by a £3.9m grant from the regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.
Reid said: “We will be looking for government support and grants. We have to justify every investment we make and it is a competition. Michelin has a limited resource it can invest. If it can make a better investment in other plant then it will do.
“If we can get support from local government to bear a percentage of the costs, then it is a little easier to fish in the investment.”