ArvinMeritor is to close its Light Vehicle Systems (LVS) exhaust facility in Franklin, Indiana as part of LVS’s restructuring plan to reduce fixed costs and enhance just-in-time delivery to customers. It is also the result of factors in the automotive industry such as overcapacity in the North American passenger car market.

The Franklin facility employs more than 850 people and is a producer of exhaust components and systems. Production based in Franklin will be transferred to ArvinMeritor locations in Columbus, Indiana; Taylor and Detroit, Michigan; Dexter, Missouri; Spartanburg, South Carolina and Queretaro, Mexico. There will be no disruption in service to ArvinMeritor customers.

“These decisions are never easy, but they are necessary if we are to remain competitive,” said Juan De La Riva, president of the LVS business group. “We must continuously reduce costs, align production with demand and improve our processes to ensure the long-term viability of the business.”

Approximately 750 hourly employees in Franklin are covered by the collective bargaining agreement with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America – Local 2993. The company has notified union officials of its decision. This will be a phased closure, with initial production moves anticipated to begin in December 2003. The closure process will be complete by September 2004.

The company noted that, as Franklin production is moved to other ArvinMeritor facilities, it may be necessary to hire additional workforce to support the new business. Franklin employees will be eligible to enquire about those positions.