ArvinMeritor is to consolidate three North American ride control facilities into one, closing a plant and a distribution centre.

The parts maker said the closure of the Toronto, Ontario, original equipment shock absorber operation, and Chickasha, Oklahoma, packaging and distribution centre, with the loss of 700 jobs, is part of a previously announced restructuring plan affecting 2,800 employees from 13 North American and European plants.

"The company must operate from a global manufacturing footprint that optimises capacity and reduces costs, said ArvinMeritor vice president and general manager, chassis systems, Ed Frutig. "Our site closures are in no way a reflection of our dedicated workforce."

A majority of the shock absorber production will be transferred from Toronto to Queretaro, Mexico, by June 2008, with an anticipated closure by June 2009. The Chickasha site will move its packaging and distribution business to a US-based third party logistics company by April 2008.

Employees were advised of the closure plans during a series of meetings at the end of last week and will be offered severance and benefits packages.

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