Continental to shut German tire plant, slash 1,800 jobs

German car parts maker Continental on Tuesday, September 15, said it plans to close a tire plant, costing 1,800 jobs, in the latest blow to the beleaguered auto industry.

The firm aims to shut down its factory in the city of Aachen in northwestern Germany by the end of 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic has "reinforced" a decline in the tire sector that has been years in the making, a Continental spokesman said.

However, according to trade union IG BCE, which represents the company's rubber division employees, the factory was "in the black" up until the spring of 2020.

"The cuts in the rubber business can't be explained either by the transformation of the car industry or by the coronavirus crisis. This is simply a matter of cutting for the sake of cutting," said IG BCE representative Francesco Grioli, who also sits on Continental's supervisory board.

"This will meet with our resistance at all levels."

The Hanover-based company announced just two weeks ago that it would expand its restructuring program.

Around 30,000 jobs globally will be "modified, relocated, or made redundant," including 13,000 in Germany, as Continental aims to save more than a billion euros ($1.2 billion) annually from 2023.

The company blamed "persistently low global vehicle production as well as the deepening economic crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic."

Continental last month said the group's net profit plunged 41% to 485 million euros in the 2nd quarter.

Fellow German car parts maker Schaeffler recently said it would cut 4,400 jobs as it struggles to recover from the fallout of weeks of lockdowns earlier in the year. – Rappler.com