AMBITIOUS plans to build a £200m tyre factory, creating up to 500 jobs, in Carlisle have been scrapped.

Dick Cormack, the man behind tyre brand DMACK, which once supplied the World Rally Championship, has instead moved his business to Italy.

The former Pirelli manager blamed Brexit for the decision, saying it was one he was forced to take after a key partner pulled out.

The news comes after it emerged that Mr Cormack’s UK sales operation is now in administration.

This business - Technology Sinon UK Ltd (formerly DMACK Global) - is now being offered for sale by national business rescue and recovery firm Leonard Curtis.

Mr Cormack said this part of the business was being wound down - but the DMACK brand is still being produced, from a new base in Italy.

“We’ve taken on a factory in Italy and are producing our tyres from there,” he explained.

“The business, DMACK SRL, moved to that location at the back end of last year.”

However he admitted that the £2m Carlisle factory proposal - which would have initially employed 70 to 100 people at a site in Kingmoor Park, eventually growing to 500 - has had to be scrapped.

Mr Cormack, founder of DMACK and majority shareholder, unveiled the ambitious back in 2016.

But he said business circumstances have since changed, forcing him to pull the plug.

“We were in partnership with Super Deal tyres but the Brexit deal ruined that.

“They are a US company. Once Brexit was announced, they pulled away from the deal. We’ve been looking for a manufacturing base since then,” he explained.

Mr Cormack said the business moved to Rovereto, near Lake Garda, at the back end of last year.

He said they have since been winding the UK operation down and no longer employ anyone in Carlisle.

But he said he hopes to restore DMACK’s connection to the city in future.

“Once we start producing tyres in Italy in volume we will probably establish another sales office in Carlisle. At the moment we are concentrating on production in Italy, so that will probably be the beginning of 2020,” he said.

Mr Cormack, who still lives near Crosby-on-Eden, just outside Carlisle, said he was disappointed about the Kingmoor factory plan.

“It was a project that we really wanted to deliver on for the local economy, but it wasn’t achievable.

“We needed a major partner, but they pulled out because of Brexit, then the investors pulled out,” he said.

Mr Cormack added: “It’s regrettable that we’ve had to wind down our sales operations in Carlisle and move to Europe but sometimes in business tough decisions need to be taken when opportunities fail and new ones appear.

“Brexit has not helped us and our goal has always been to have our own manufacturing facility with total control. This is the opportunity that we have right now so we must take it and rebuild our business after a tough 2018.”

DMACK was an official supplier to the World Rally Championship (WRC) for several years and in 2016 launched its own DMACK World Rally Team.

But Mr Cormack said: “We decided to withdraw from the WRC at the end of 2017 after winning Rally GB.”

  • Editor’s note: This story was edited in July 2019 to remove a factual claim from DMACK that Cooper Tire and Rubber Company Europe Ltd was “winding their operations down in the UK”. Cooper Tires has told us this is incorrect and it maintains a significant place in the European market.