Hayes Lemmerz International Inc. is closing its Howell, MI, manufacturing plant as part of a rationalization program for its North American Wheel Group, it announced April 1. The goal is to lower operating costs and increase facility utilization, Hayes stated.
No timeframe for the closing was announced. The aluminum wheel operations at Howell will be permanently reassigned to other manufacturing facilities in the U.S. The plant employs 180 people, hourly and salaried.
"This has been a difficult but necessary decision for the company and we regret the effect it will have on our employees, their families and the Howell community," said Curtis Clawson, Hayes Lemmerz chairman and CEO. "We have determined that this was the most effective course of action to better align our available capacity with the market, and make our overall cost structure more competitive."
James Stegemiller, president of Hayes Lemmerz' North American Wheel Group, said, "The closure is a result of industry-wide overcapacity and is not a reflection on the workforce or management team in Howell. However, changes in business conditions have made it necessary to reduce the number of our facilities in order to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and capacity utilization, and thereby optimize our North American Wheel business."