Automotive seating specialist Adient announced it plans to shut down one of its six plants in Slovakia by the end of June 2018.
The global seating manufacturer took the decision to halt production at its operation in Lozorno in the west of the country after the U.S.-based group lost a Volkswagen car seat contract to French rival component supplier Faurecia.
In January, Faurecia started seating production for Volkswagen's Audi Q7 car at a newly leased plant outside the Slovak capital Bratislava. The French firm is investing 20 million euros in the facility, which will employ 1,300.
The redundant 250-strong Lozorno plant workforce, will receive Adient management support and severance pay under a collective agreement. Employees are being offered alternative posts at other Slovak Adient facilities.
Adient, the 2016 spin-off of Johnson Controls Inc.'s former auto seating and interiors business, initially explored several regional and global options of new opportunities to keep Lozorno plant running but without success.
“Making this decision wasn't easy,” commented Hynek Maňas, Adient's European manufacturing director for complete seat systems. “All projects dealing with the manufacture of complete seat systems at Lozorno will terminate after around 11 months and, therefore this (closure) was inevitable.”
But Maňas stressed that the shutdown will not have any impact on the operation of Adient group's remaining plants in Slovakia.
Prior to the closure announcement, Adient anticipated job creation in Slovakia where it is expanding operations, including its only global business centre in Bratislava and a major technology centre at Trenčín where it opened a new prototyping unit in May.
This year it plans to raise its workforce of 400 at Trenčín by 100 to meet significant growth in the automotive business in central Europe and already employs nearly 1,000 at the business centre, local media reported.
Other Slovak plants include units at Žilina, north of Trenčín, where Adient makes complete seat systems and seating fabrics; at Martin nearby which is dedicated to seat cover production and two sites in Lučenec which produce seating foam components and metal headrest parts.
Slovakia is not the only part of eastern Europe where Adient is expanding. In Macedonia, the company has continued Johnson Controls plans for expansion with the official launch last month of an advanced 17 million euro car seat covers plant in the south eastern city of Strumica.
The 12,500-square-meter facility, employing 1,300, is the second phase of Johnson Controls' 2015 project which included the initial expansion of an existing plant at Strumica. By 2018, JCI originally planned to take employment up to 3,000.