Superior Industries Closing California Wheel Plant

Jan. 14, 2009
Right sizing capacity for current, projected vehicle production
Aluminum automotive wheel manufacturer Superior Industries International Inc. is closing its Van Nuys, CA, plant in order cut operating costs and “more closely align its capacity with sharply lower demand for light vehicles.” Superior produces aluminum wheels for most of the world’s automotive companies, listing Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Seat, Skoda, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo. The Van Nuys plant will be closed by the end of June, and affect 290 positions, or 9% of the company’s total employment. Superior says the annual labor cost savings will be approximately $16.5 million. Superior says it has not determined the closing costs for this decision, but it will record the asset-impairment charges with its 4Q 2008 statement. Fixed-asset values for the plant are estimated at $17.4 million. “Closing the Van Nuys plant, where we launched our OEM aluminum wheel business over 30 years ago, and losing many loyal and long-term employees makes this decision particularly difficult,” stated Steven Borick, Superior Industries chairman, CEO, and president. “Nevertheless, it is imperative to right-size our capacity in line with current and projected vehicle production while maintaining the leverage for future business opportunities. We are committed to coming out of this unprecedented business downturn as a stronger, leaner company.” Once the California plant is closed Superior Industries will have three plants in Arkansas two in Chihuahua, Mexico, and a joint-venture operation in Buzavirag, Hungary. In August 2008 it announced it would close its Pittsburg, KS, plant in December, and in 2006 it closed its plant in Johnson City, TN. Now, Superior states, its operating capacity will be sufficient to meet current and anticipated demand.