An MP has claimed just a fraction of the jobs set to be lost at Dunlop Motorsport’s Birmingham factory will be transferred to Germany and France.
Erdington MP Jack Dromey’s revelation comes as an industry insider claimed the firm had never had any intention of staying in Birmingham, despite talks with the Government.
Production of motor sport tyres in Birmingham will move to factories in France and Germany later this year but the MP said just 41 new jobs are being created in total while 270 jobs are being lost in Birmingham.
The MP also claimed the tyre-maker had shifted its position and that while some production will move to Germany and France, parent company Goodyear Dunlop is also exploring contract manufacturing deals with other firms ranging from Europe to the Far East.
Mr Dromey said: “Just 41 jobs will be created at the plants concerned in Germany and France, against a background of 270 jobs that will go in Birmingham.”
He said the firm was looking to engage manufacturers in Portugal, Turkey, China and South Korea and claimed a meeting had already taken place in Portugal.
“To add insult to injury Britain’s £9 billion motor sport industry will now have to depend on imported tyres from across the globe, no longer of the high quality produced by skilled Birmingham workers and in future costing Birmingham companies more,” he added.
Mr Dromey’s claims represent the latest development in a row over Goodyear Dunlop’s decision to close its Erdington factory.
The business has been forced to leave the site after it was bought by neighbouring Jaguar Land Rover, which is to use the land as part of its expansion plans at its Castle Bromwich site.
Goodyear Dunlop spokesman James Bailey said: “It is true we are not recruiting as many people in the receiving factories as we had in Birmingham.
“The reason for that is because of the timescale we had. We are having to rationalise our range and we also took a business decision in the last year to exit certain areas of motor sport including rallying and some other niche areas of motor sport.
“Secondly, the plants we are proposing to move to have existing capacity and capability.”
Mr Bailey also denied the firm had plans for large scale contract manufacturing in Europe, the Far East and Turkey, though he acknowledged the firm did conduct such deals for some niche products.
But Mr Dromey accused the company of “deceiving its workforce” over claims it had been seriously prepared to consider other sites to move to in Birmingham.
Mr Dromey’s claim over Goodyear Dunlop tyre production moving out was backed up by a motor sport industry insider who did not wish to be named. He said: “There was never any intention to move the factory in Birmingham.
"The Dunlop Motorsport general manager went to Portugal in December about making tyres out there. This was at the same time as they were talking to Jack Dromey and the Government saying they wanted to stay in Birmingham.
“The senior management never had any intention of staying in Birmingham.”
But Goodyear Dunlop denied it had planned to leave Birmingham at the outset and said it did consider other sites in Birmingham. Mr Bailey said: “Our first choice would always to be to stay in Birmingham.
“There were a number of options, including whether there was any possibility of staying on the site for longer.
“We also had great support from Birmingham City Council. Unfortunately most were brownfield sites and the biggest problem we had was one of timescale. One of the primary issues was continuity of supply and in the timescale we had we couldn’t go and build a new factory.”