Automotive supplier TS Trim Industries Inc. will convert an injection molding and assembly facility in southern Ohio to a warehouse, spelling the loss of more than 300 jobs.
The company will downsize operations at its Athens, Ohio, plant, a maker of door liners and seat covers, according to Athens government officials and public documents. The facility will become a warehouse and distribution center, employing about 25 people, said Len Eliason, a commissioner for Athens County.
The move is a dramatic change since March, when the company announced plans to add another molding machine in Athens to make door liners for Honda vehicles. Honda has a production facility in Marysville, Ohio.
TS Trim officials said at a May 6 news conference that it would discuss the option of returning an Ohio Enterprise Zone tax credit used to buy molding equipment for its investment of $3 million. A notice filed with the state posted a July 7 layoff date in Athens that will affect 308 people.
The company is one of the largest manufacturers in Athens, a town known more for Ohio University than for its manufacturing base. The area has attempted to attract more manufacturing but has found it difficult, Eliason said.
``This came out of the blue,'' Eliason said. ``We didn't have time to react.''
Officials with parent firm TS Tech North America Inc. referred calls late last week to a vice president at the Athens plant. The executive did not return calls.
According to outside officials, TS Trim will shift production to a facility in Canal Winchester, Ohio. That plant makes door and roof liners and has more than 400 employees, according to company information.
The Athens facility has six injection presses and a cut-and-sew operation that makes trim covers, TS Trim officials said at the news briefing. Canal Winchester will add about 190 positions to support the moves, officials said.
TS Trim is part of Tokyo Seat Co., a major Japanese auto supplier based in Asaka, Japan. The company also operates several North American subsidiaries that are part of TS Tech, based in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.