Delphi Corp. has completed closure at its Automotive Holdings Group Flint West, Michigan manufacturing operations, in line with the timing announced in October 2003.

All production has ceased at the Flint West facility. By the end of last week, all the site's remaining approximately 450 active employees had chosen to either retire or transfer to other posts within Delphi.

"While growth remains the leading part of our strategy, we are also challenged to reduce our legacy cost structure and we are on track to do so as we make our US operations more competitive," said a Delphi spokesman.

The Flint West closure is the largest of four planned in the US for 2004. Delphi has also closed five facilities outside the US this year and, to the end of June 30 had reduced its US hourly headcount by 4,925 compared to its original goal of 5,000 by year-end. The goal has since been adjusted to 5,500-6,000.

Last spring, Delphi finalised a wage agreement with the UAW to hire new US workers at an average all-in wage and benefit level of $24-25 an hour, compared to the all-in $60-70 an hour that it is currently paying.

"This agreement is most helpful in bidding for future business," the spokesman said. "The largest impact more likely will be in the latter third of this decade when the new business comes on line. Nevertheless, we have taken advantage of selective attrition and growth opportunities to begin the transition to a lower cost workforce at several sites with approximately 160 new employees on roll under this agreement."