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Botetourt County Automotive Supplier to Close in 2010

On Friday, July 10, JTEKT North America (JNA) announced the closing of its plant in Daleville, effective in February of 2010.

The plant, which has been in operation since 2001, will begin phasing down production in October, with most of its business being transferred to JNA’s plants in Texas and Tennessee.

The majority of JNA sales are to the automotive industry, which has experienced a drastic decline in sales over the last year due to the global economic recession. According to Michael Bowers, Vice President of Operations at JNA, the company’s plants are currently operating at 35-65 percent of capacity, which is not financially sustainable over the long term.

“Automotive will recover, but that recovery is expected to be prolonged and the Company’s business situation doesn’t allow it to wait,” said Bowers. “To ensure long term competitiveness and business stability for our team members and customers, a very difficult decision had to be made to eliminate excess capacity and adjust to weakened sales,” Bowers said.

Prior to Friday’s announcement, JNA had incorporated several measures designed to adjust to lower sales and reduce costs, including offering voluntary furloughs and early retirement, mandatory freezing of all hiring and wage increases, and the elimination of all temporary employees.

The move will affect some 260 employees, all of whom will be given a substantial severance package including 13 weeks of pay in addition to free medical and dental coverage for three months after the closure of the plant. Some of the employees will be offered transfers to plants in Texas or Tennessee.

Formerly named Koyo Steering Systems, the Botetourt plant produces steering columns for GM, Nissan, and Toyota.

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