MILWAUKEE - Johnson Controls Inc. of Milwaukee plans to build a plant in Oberlin, Ohio, to build seats for Ford Motor Co. vans assembled at Lorain, Ohio. JCI said the seat system factory will cover about 100,000-square-feet and will be in production for 1997-model Ford Econoline vans.
The company said it has no estimate on the number of employees and does not disclose plant costs.
The move represents the continuation of a trend toward outsourcing by automakers of seat design and production. In this case, United Auto Workers Local 425 voted to strike to save jobs of seat makers.
Ford said no jobs will be lost because of the coming change. However, the local, representing 3,800 in the assembly operation, opposes the switch in sourcing.
Local President Bill Allen said talks with Ford are continuing.
Lear Seating Corp. of Southfield, Mich., acquired Ford's North American seat plants in 1993 but some in-plant seat production, like that at Lorain scheduled to go to Johnson Controls, continues as part of Ford.