Tower Automotive has announced that a decision has been finalised to move the production of the frame assembly for the Dodge Ram light truck from Tower Automotive's Milwaukee manufacturing facility to the company's joint venture partner, Metalsa S. de R.L., in Monterrey, Mexico.

Tower Automotive has a 40-percent equity interest in Metalsa, a producer of frame assemblies for light-truck and heavy-duty-truck applications. The move is planned for mid-2005.

"This decision reflects the need for suppliers like Tower Automotive to have a presence in global markets," said Kathleen Ligocki, President and CEO of Tower Automotive. "I want to thank our colleagues in Milwaukee for their hard work on the current Dodge Ram frame. We will work closely with our joint-venture partner Metalsa to ensure a smooth transition for our customer."

Metalsa CEO Jesus Theurel added, "This is an exciting opportunity for Metalsa to continue our relationship with DaimlerChrysler. We look forward to the challenge of ensuring a successful move."

The move means that most of the 500 workers on the Dodge Ram light truck line in Milwaukee will lose their jobs by the end of the 18-month transition.

Tower Automotive provides components for the Dodge Dakota, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and several DaimlerChrysler minivan models, among other vehicles. The company will launch four new programs for DaimlerChrysler in 2004.