Lear Corp. refuses to say what will happen to United Technologies Automotive employees and facilities following the acquisition of the Dearborn, Mich., supplier, but automotive analysts expect some job cuts.
UTA employs about 1,700 in metropolitan Detroit, including 1,300 at its Dearborn headquarters. Lear, meanwhile, has about 500 employees at its headquarters in Southfield plus an estimated 5,000 workers across the state.
Lear may find duplication of operations, analysts said.
``They may have significant overlap in areas like product development, research and development, purchasing, and customer service,'' said Martin King, an analyst with New York-based Standard & Poor's Corp. ``I think you can draw the conclusion that there'd be some head-count reductions there, though you don't know for sure.''
Lear Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Way refused to speculate, though he did acknowledge his firm will pursue cost cuts.
``We'll look at everything and see what makes sense,'' he said. ``We just did the deal, so I don't want to speculate. ... Sure, there are a lot of things that they had set up that we don't need. We can eliminate things that are duplicate.''
Lear has predicted a cost savings of $110 million.
``Some of that is savings in material purchasing,'' said David Strickler, director of automotive research for Bowles Hollowell Conner & Co. of Charlotte, N.C. ``They will want to centralize some research centers, information technology and testing facilities. As for job losses, I would think an area like plastics purchasing, which both companies did, maybe there'd be cuts there.''
Lear already is in the midst of restructuring. It has closed or consolidated 18 plants and cut 2,800 jobs. Most of those cuts were in Europe.