Automotive supplier Vaungarde Inc. has shut down its reaction injection molding operation in Owosso, Mich., cutting 60 jobs, and will focus on painting components produced by other companies.
General Motors Corp. forced the Aug. 24 action when it decided to move business elsewhere, said Vaungarde General Manager Jeff Young.
``We were experiencing some drastically reduced sales,'' he said in an Aug. 30 telephone interview. ``We went to GM to ask for their assistance.''
After months of discussions, GM decided it could not commit more work to the site and instead pulled existing production. The Detroit-based automaker was responsible for 95 percent of the output, Young said.
``As soon as we got the news, we decided we were going to have to change,'' he said.
Vaungarde plans to sell the building and all equipment. Its second plant, also in Owosso, is a paint shop and will continue operations, focusing on decoration. The firm's parent company, Quoin Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich., also is a finishing specialist.
David E. Vaughn opened the company more than 25 years ago. Quoin bought it in 1996,
The company had invested extensively in production, Young said, spending nearly $5 million in capital improvements during the past five years to boost quality and reduce production cycles. The privately owned operation marked its best sales year in 2000.
This year's reduced automotive production, though, hit the company hard, he said. The firm has had a series of temporary layoffs but still could not combat the reduced production.