Summit Polymers Inc. will close one of its injection molding plants as a result of the slowing auto industry.
The Shelbyville plant, which opened in 2004 to make interior and exterior parts, employs about 220 hourly and 40 salaried workers. With the automotive market slowing, especially for sport utility vehicles and trucks, the plant has to close, Summit said in an Oct. 20 news release.
``Four-dollar gas and the recent `credit crisis' have caused North American vehicle manufacturers to dramatically decrease their planned production volumes into the foreseeable future, particularly affecting trucks and SUVs,'' the company noted in the release.
Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Summit is not the only auto supplier touched by the slowdown. Blow molder ABC Group Inc. of Toronto announced Oct. 23 that it will close its Salga Inc. facility in Fremont, Ind., by the end of this year, cutting 83 jobs, and Engineered Plastic Components Inc., owned by Alcoa Fujikura Ltd., recently announced 40 long-term layoffs at its Mattawan, Mich., plant, which employs about 300 making electronic components for the auto industry.
Industry analysts have been predicting decreases in North American car sales of as much as 2.5 million from last year's sales of 16 million for 2008, with no recovery expected until late 2009 or sometime in 2010.
Summit expects to close the Shelbyville plant by the end of January. The firm noted it will offer openings at its sites in Michigan and Kentucky to Shelbyville workers as spots are available.
The Shelbyville plant has more than 20 injection molding machines and three paint lines.