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 Southern Auto Corridor News

December 11, 2008

Parts Supplier Opens in Alabama

In December, the ribbon was cut for the recently opened Alabama Cullman Yutaka Technologies plant in Cullman, Ala. The Japanese company has created 123 jobs to date and is a supplier of torque converters, exhaust systems and other products to Honda's large plant located in Lincoln, Ala.

Another Parts Supplier Expanding in Alabama

Germany-based automotive exhaust system manufacturer Eberspaecher NA announced in late November it is relocating its Michigan-based catalytic converter operation to Tuscaloosa, Ala. The deal will create 37 new jobs and represents an investment of $7 million.

Enough Buyouts at Mercedes Mean no Layoffs at Alabama Plant

In the fall quarter Mercedes-Benz announced plans to cut production and employees at its Vance, Ala. facility. Mercedes offered buyouts to an undisclosed number of employees and company officials announced in late November that there were enough voluntary buyout packages accepted to avoid any layoffs. The plant employed about 4,000 workers prior to the buyout program. The buyouts are part of a plan that will reduce one assembly line at the German automaker's plant to be reduced to one shift in January.

Honda Cutting Alabama Plant Production

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama officials announced in the late fall quarter that production will be reduced by about 150 units per day at its assembly plant in Lincoln, Ala., in January and February of 2009. The Japanese automaker announced further cuts of about 1,000 vehicles per day in March of 2009. No layoffs are expected at the plant. Instead, Honda employees will help get the facility ready to produce the new Ridgeline pickup and the V-6 Accord. Production of the Accord is being moved from Honda's Ohio plant to the Alabama facility and the first roll-out is expected in mid-2009.

Intertec Laying Off 157 in Bardstown, Ky.

Michigan-based Intertec Systems, a joint venture that involves Johnson Controls, announced in December that it is laying off 157 workers at its plant in Bardstown. The company supplies parts for GM, Toyota, Chrysler and Ford.

Ford Returning Second Shift at Missouri Plant

In January, Ford Motor plans to bring back a second shift at its Kansas City assembly plant in Claycomo, Mo. The plant assembles the Ford F-150 truck. Like all automakers -- foreign and domestic in the U.S. -- Ford is juggling shifts, lines and workers as it tries to weather the recession the best it can. That means fine tuning production like never before. In this specific case, in January Ford will move about 800 workers from a third shift on the SUV side of the Claycomo plant to the second shift for the F-150 truck.

Truck Parts Manufacturer Expanding in N.C.

Kentucky-based Sypris Technologies announced in the late fall quarter that it is adding 200 new jobs and investing $25 million at its plant in Morganton, N.C. The company makes axles for light, medium and heavy duty trucks. Sypris purchased the North Carolina facility in 2004 from Dana Corp. Officials chose to expand the plant, located in Burke County, over other sites in the U.S. and Mexico.

Bosch Offers Buyouts to 2,100 Workers in North Charleston

Saying it has an "overcapacity situation," German parts maker Robert Bosch LLC has offered a voluntary severance package to the 2,100 workers at its North Charleston, S.C. plant. The company would not say how many workers needed to take the buyouts to avoid layoffs at the plant. The plant opened in 1973 and produces power train components for a variety of automakers.

Volkswagen Picks Three Suppliers, Expects More near Chattanooga

VW anounced in December that it has chosen three suppliers for its new plant now under construction in Chattanooga. Draxlmaier Group and EMCON Technologies will produce exhaust systems and wire harnesses and Saturn Electronics will manufacture advanced solid state electronics modules at its facilities in Michigan. In a related announcement, Frank Fischer, VW's plant CEO in Chattanooga, said that more than a dozen components for the new model to be assembled there will need to be produced by prospective Tier 1 suppliers within 30 miles of the plant.

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