November 19, 2008

Another Canadian auto supplier closing

Nearly 60 Canadian auto-supply workers in southwestern Ontario were told their plant is closing next year and being relocated to Brazil.

Officials with ZF, a maker of heavy duty steering systems based in Stuttgart, Germany, told its 57 workers in St. Thomas, Ontario, their jobs will end by December 2009, the London Free Press reported Wednesday.

Plant manager Bernhard Freiermuth told the newspaper the closure had nothing to do with the auto industry's current struggles but rather the plant was determined to be too small to be economical in the company's long-term plans.

The company supplies Ford, General Motors, Freightliner and Volvo.

The region has been battered in the past year with automotive-related layoffs and closures.

Earlier this month, officials announced the Sterling Truck plant will be shuttered next March, throwing 2,000 employees out of work. Other manufacturers have announced various extended Christmas holidays running as long as five weeks as a money-saving measure, the newspaper said.