DETROIT (June 6, 2:55 p.m. ET) — Despite a nearly $67 million automotive battery recall and growing financial troubles, A123 Systems Inc. plans to hire 400 at the two plants in suburban Detroit by November.
Jason Forcier, vice president of A123's automotive solutions group, said the lithium-ion battery maker plans to hire 100 employees a month over the next four months at its Livonia and Romulus plants, thanks to increases in its power-grid and commercial transportation businesses.
At its peak last year, A123 employed 1,020 in Southeast Michigan. That's now down to 781 employees.
Waltham, Mass.-based A123 began recalling auto batteries in March after it isolated an incorrect calibration of one automated welding machine in Livonia. The defect was noticed after a Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid fitted with an A123 battery failed during a test by Consumer Reports.
The company reported that five automotive customers received batteries with potentially defective cells.
CEO David Vieau told analysts on a conference call last month that A123 would complete shipments of replacement batteries over the next several quarters.
Replacing the defective batteries is expected to cost A123 $66.8 million.
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