Bearish Titan says non to French bon vivants

TITAN International chairman Maurice Taylor has taken a bold stand on behalf of the Anglo-Saxon model, not-so-politely declining an offer to buy a French factory that is being closed by American tyre-maker Goodyear.

After being invited to visit the factory in northern France, Taylor sent a letter to French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg, and did not hold back on the reasons behind his firm’s decision not to purchase the tyre plant.

Taylor wrote: “I have visited the factory several times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but work only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that’s the French way!”

Taylor was equally frank about what he thought of politicians: “You are a politician so you don’t want to rock the boat. The Chinese are shipping tires into France... and yet you do nothing.”

“France will lose its industrial business,” he warns. “Sir, your letter states that you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government... Titan is going to buy a Chinese company or an Indian one, pay less than one euro per hour wage and ship all the tires France needs. You can keep the so-called workers.”

It seems the Titan boss is grizzly by name, grizzly by nature, as colleagues affectionately refer to him as Morry or “The Grizz.” Not one to say vive la difference.