Cummins to Close Turbo Diesel Plant, Temporarily

May 7, 2009
Engine builder hit by Chrysler bankruptcy, idling
Cummins Inc. is closing its Columbus MidRange Engine Plant (CMEP) in Walesboro, IN, citing a decline in business following Chrysler Corp.’s decision to idle manufacturing operations during its bankruptcy reorganization. The plant is the manufacturing site for 6.7-liter turbo diesel engines installed in Dodge Ram pickup trucks. Cummins Inc. designs and manufactures engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions, and electrical power generation systems. “The engines we produce for Chrysler make up virtually all the demand at CMEP, and without the Chrysler production it is not economically feasible to operate the plant,” stated Engine Business president Jim Kelly. “There is considerable uncertainty around Chrysler and when it will resume manufacturing operations, which makes it necessary for us to take this difficult action. The CMEP will close May 15 until Chrysler resumes pickup truck production. The company states “about 690” workers will be laid off, including 610 hourly workers. The other 80 workers m ay be reassigned to Cummins’ other operations in southern Indiana. Also, Cummins is permanently discontinuing 110 positions at other plants, including approximately 30 at the Cummins Fuel Systems Plant in Columbus; approximately 50 at the Cummins Industrial Center in Seymour, IN; and approximately 30 in the Heavy Duty Machining operation at the Columbus Engine Plant in Jamestown, NY. “These job reductions are in response to further weakening demand for engines and components as a result of the global recession, and are consistent with our efforts to align manufacturing capacity and costs with that lower demand,” according to a company statement. Cummins said Chrysler’s Saltillo, Mexico, assembly plant where the Dodge Ram pickups are produced is expected to be idle for at least four weeks and Chrysler has indicated that its entire manufacturing operation could remain closed for nine weeks or longer.