Lawton Goodyear Plant Production Suffers Slowdown

Tuesday, November 18th 2008, 6:52 pm
By: News 9

By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

LAWTON, Okla. -- Shockwaves from the troubled automobile industry reach all across the nation, all the way to Oklahoma. Tremors are being felt at a plant in Lawton.

Production has definitely slowed some at the Lawton Goodyear plant. Starting October 26, the plant stopped making tires on Sundays.

Actually Goodyear is slowing production at half a dozen of its U.S. plants, and Lawton is no exception.

"I know that the Goodyear facility here produces like 75,000 tires per day, and I believe that they have an inventory, a strong inventory, right now and they're looking for ways to reduce that inventory," Dana Davis with the Lawton Chamber of Commerce said.

Demand for tires is down because demand for cars is down; both signs of a slowing economy. And everyone in Lawton knows the economic health of the town depends on a healthy Goodyear plant.

"Well, it's the biggest employer second to Fort Sill, and that's where most of the people that have the higher incomes work at," Lawton resident Bruce Bomgardner.

But one retired Goodyear worker said there's no cause for panic.

"Well, if the production slowed down just weekends that wouldn't hurt much, as long as the plant stays here, because they have scaled down on the weekend before," Former Goodyear worker, A.D. Privratsky said.

Production slowdowns are one thing, but some wonder if layoffs will be next.

"We visit frequently with the management out at Goodyear, and I have not heard anything about reduction of personnel at this point," Davis said.

Goodyear said there will be a couple of days with no tire production around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. Many Lawton residents hope in 2009 they'll see the tire business start rolling again.