The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company today took another step in its effort to integrate the Goodyear and Dunlop operations with the announcement that it will rationalize passenger and light truck tire production within the company's joint venture with Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. in Europe.

This move, which will result in substantial cost savings and synergies for the Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe joint venture, will involve discontinuing the production of passenger and light truck tires at the Dunlop Tyres UK plant in Birmingham, England, and moving it to other joint venture plants in Europe. Earlier this year, Goodyear's Italian tire plant was closed and commercial truck tire manufacturing discontinued at Dunlop's Birmingham plant as part of the company's European rationalization effort.

"This rationalization is part of our plan to integrate Goodyear and Dunlop operations in Europe," said Vernon L. Dunckel, Goodyear's senior vice president of global product supply. "As we combine the businesses, we will take full advantage of synergies that allow us to become more efficient and to grow."

Passenger and light truck tire production at the Dunlop Birmingham plant will be phased out by the end of this year. It is anticipated that up to 600 jobs will be eliminated in the fourth quarter.

In November 1999, Goodyear announced the closure of its tire plant in Argentina as part of the overall global rationalization program.

Goodyear is the world's largest tire company. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, the company manufactures tires, engineered rubber products and chemicals in more than 90 facilities in 27 countries. It has marketing operations in almost every country around the world. Goodyear, with the addition of its Dunlop tire joint ventures, employs more than 105,000 people worldwide.