Birmingham MP blasts ‘inexplicable’ Dunlop Motorsport closure

Posted on 2 Jun 2014 by The Manufacturer

A Birmingham MP who fought against the closure of Dunlop Motorsport’s Birmingham site has described the Goodyear-owned company’s decision to end 125 years of manufacturing in Birmingham as “inexplicable.”

Speaking to TM, Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington, said the 241 job losses at the Goodyear-owned firm’s site represented a bitter irony of a world leader in motorsport no longer manufacturing tyres domestically.

He believes that as a result, the UK motorsport industry will now have to look abroad when sourcing its tyres.

Jack Dromey MP
Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington

“Goodyear-Dunlop’s decision is inexplicable because our £9bn motorsport industry will now have to depend on imported tyres from all over the globe, in a decision made behind a closed boardroom door 3,500 miles away in Ohio,” he said.

“The closure of Dunlop Motorsport is a bitter blow for Birmingham and Britain, and a loyal and long serving workforce that deserves better.”

Mr Dromey said he had spent two years looking for alternatives for Goodyear-Dunlop to remain in Birmingham, with 12 potential sites identified with backing from the city’s council.

Despite incentives including competitive land pricing and relocation assistance, Goodyear Dunlop ceased operations in the city where it first manufactured tyres in 1889.

“We had nothing but support from the council and government from the Prime Minister down,” he said, with one of the sites confirmed as the Advanced Manufacturing Hub three miles away in Aston.

“Goodyear Dunlop were offered a very competitive price on the land in addition to assistance in relocation, but instead they chose to end 125 years of manufacturing here in Britain,” he added.

Attention has now turned to securing new jobs for the 241 employees let go from the Erdington factory.

Dromey said discussions have been underway for some months to ensure new roles for its skilled and semi-skilled workers at the nearby factories of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, which isn’t owned by Goodyear.

And the MP, who was elected to his seat in 2010, said he’s confident Dunlop Aircraft Tyres is a good long-term option for workers in his constituency made jobless by Dunlop Motorsport.

“Dunlop Aircraft Tyres is a good company, employing 500 people just yards from the motorsport factory and well led by its chairman Ian Edmondson,” he said.

“It has made it abundantly clear that it remains committed to Birmingham and Britain, and has the advantage of being both a good employer and not owned by Goodyear.”

TM is awaiting comment from Goodyear Dunlop following the statement it released at the end of last week.

In the release, it stated the decision to move production out of the UK to France and Germany was influenced by both cost and timescale of building a new site to match the capabilities of its sites on the continent.

“We have had an extension from the landlord until September 1 and will continue with a range of operations, including warehousing, development testing, sales service and engineering,” it read.

“It is a sad situation for everyone – we didn’t want, or had expected, to be in this position.”