Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Morocco auto parts plan to close by year's end

An automotive parts plan in Northwest Indiana is closing down to be closer to its customers in China:

Intec, a manufacturer of automotive components, announced Monday it will be closing its flagship Morocco facility by year's end.

"We need to be close to our customers and as they move to China, so we are moving too," said president Steve Pearlman. "This epitomizes the shift in the automobile industry."

Employees at the location of 54 years will be laid off in phases. Pearlman said 160 to 165 will lose their jobs.

"This will be devastating to us here in Morocco," said Larry Bingham, town board vice president. "We are at a time when Morocco's potential was its highest in more over 40 years for growth in attraction. It hurts."

Pearlman's father chose Morocco, about 56 miles northwest of Lafayette, to build a plant in 1953. The executive offices are based in Palatine, Ill.

While Intec has grown globally it has been difficult to maintain cost-effective manufacturing in Indiana, Pearlman said. The automotive manufacturer Delphi, Intec's biggest customer, recently announced plans to close 28 of its 32 facilities.

The products now manufactured in Morocco will be transferred to Intec's facilities in Palatine, as well as Guaymas, Mexico, and a new plant being built in Changzhou, China. Intec has other manufacturing facilities in Singapore and the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Tianjin.

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