NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire will layoff at least 158 employees at its plant in LaVergne due to a decrease in demand for passenger and light truck tires.
According to a news release Monday, the tire company will layoff 148 hourly and at least 10 salaried workers at the facility beginning Dec. 21.
The LaVergne plant, which employs 1,700 workers, makes bus, passenger and light truck tires.
Manufacturing president Steve Brooks said the company is facing challenges because of the global economic slowdown. Bridgestone Firestone had previously adjusted production levels to address slowing demand but the drop in demand for consumer tires has caused inventory to grow.
"Even though we have taken a number of steps intended to align our consumer tire production levels with industry demand, including reducing daily unit production, curbing or eliminating overtime and extending shutdown dates, unfortunately we find it necessary to take this additional step," Brooks said.
The company also is considering halting consumer tire manufacturing at the LaVergne plant on or before June 30. That move would eliminate 500 hourly and salaried jobs.
The LaVergne plant was the first tire-producing facility in North America for the Bridgestone Corporation.
Brooks said the company has held meetings for plant workers, union officials, government and community leaders.
"The steps we announced today were taken only after serious consideration of our alternatives," Brooks said. "However, these actions are necessary in order to ensure the health of our entire North American tire business."