Hayes Lemmerz Merges Suspension, Brake, Powertrain Organizations

April 11, 2006
Also, cutting benefits programs to improve corporate profitability

April 11, 2006 -- Hayes Lemmerz International Inc. has outlined a corporate restructuring plan it says will strengthen its competitive position, improve its profitability, and increase shareholders’ long-term value. President, CEO, and chairman Curtis Clawson, explained: "The last several years have seen profound changes in the competitive landscape of the automotive industry. We are aligning our organization to recognize the realities in the U.S. and to assure continued success in the global automotive marketplace."

Principally, Hayes Lemmerz announced it is consolidating its Suspension Components and Automotive Brake and Powertrain Components business units into a new group, Automotive Components. The move is intended to improve the Company's market focus and streamline its organization. Hayes Lemmerz will cut its corporate and business unit staffs by approximately 45 employees and reduce related costs.

Daniel M. Sandberg was named to head the new group as president. Sandberg had been resident of the Automotive Brake and Powertrain Components business unit.

Also, the company plans to cut back several employee wage and benefit programs, primarily at its U.S. locations. This will include reducing base pay up to 7.5% for U.S. employees, 10% for the company's president and CEO and 20% for company directors, temporarily suspending corporate contributions to employee 401(k) plans, and restructuring the short-term incentive compensation plans for hourly and salaried employees.

"While the wage and benefit changes are difficult, they are necessary for our business to effectively compete against foreign competition," said Clawson. He said these steps will reduce operating costs, and help to increase the long-term value of the company.

Last month, Hayes Lemmerz announced it is closing an aluminum wheel manufacturing plant in Huntington, IN, by midyear, and will transfer the production there to other aluminum wheel plants in North America.

In January, Hayes Lemmerz combined its North American and International Wheel business units, creating a Global Wheel Group.