French hit at ‘ignorant’
American tyre firm chief

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US BUSINESSMAN Maurice Taylor, chief executive of tyre-maker Titan International, has received a reply to his letter 
attacking the French work ethic.

Mr Taylor, nicknamed “the Grizz”, wrote the no-holds-barred letter to French industrial renewal minister Arnaud Montebourg to explain why his firm would not buy part of an ailing Goodyear factory in Amiens.

“I have visited the factory a couple of times,” the letter dated February 8 reads, according to a copy published on Wednesday in Les Echos newspaper.

“The French workforce gets paid high wages but only works for 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.”

In a written reply, Mr Montebourg tells Mr Taylor “your words, as extremist as they are insulting, show a perfect ignorance of our country”.

“Can I remind you that Titan, the company you head, is 20 times smaller than Michelin, the French technology leader with a global reach and 35 times more profitable? That shows the extent that Titan could have gained enormously from a French base,” Mr Montebourg goes on.

“I would like to remind Mr Taylor that France remains the number one European destination from American investors,” added French government spokewoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.