GKN has announced plans to shut two facilities and consolidate its UK driveline component operations into a single centre at its existing plant at Erdington, Birmingham (UK).

The firm said the move secures the long term sustainability of its driveline component manufacturing capability in the UK at a difficult time and ensures a competitive UK supply of car parts to its customers in the UK and around the world.

The company also announced that it will invest GBP7m over the next three years in upgrading and modernising the manufacturing capability at Erdington as part of the restructuring and additional jobs will be created there.

The company said it will shut its forge facility at Hamstead by the end of 2009 and the car parts facility at Walsall by the middle of 2010, with the loss of 323 jobs.

Due entirely to the dramatic and sustained reduction in customer orders, 150 jobs will also be lost at the auto structures plant at Telford this year.

“The actions being announced today are regrettable but absolutely necessary to respond to the global economic downturn that is particularly affecting the automotive industry” said GKN Automotive Chief Executive, Nigel Stein.

“We are in unprecedented times and we must protect our position as a leading global automotive supplier and ensure we are in a strong position to meet our customers’ needs now and when markets recover”.