Ford Motor Co. was unable to find a buyer for its Monroe plant and will close the former Visteon Corp. factory by the end of 2008. It has 1,200 employees.
"There were no buyers for the line of operations at the plant, and no buyers are interested in the plant itself," said Della DiPietro, a spokesman for Ford's Automotive Components Holdings.
Workers employed there, including 850 represented by the United Auto Workers union and 150 temporary employees, learned yesterday that the plant will be shuttered.
"The bottom line is that there is no buyer .•.•." Ms. DiPietro said.
At one time the aging and sprawling plant employed 2,200 workers. The factory was among plants taken back by Ford in 2005 in a bailout of spin-off Visteon Corp. Automotive Components Holdings was formed by Ford to retool and find buyers for the plants.
Catalytic converters and stabilizer bars, the bulk of the remaining work at the plant, will be purchased from suppliers.
In April, Ford entered into an agreement for Neapco LLC to take control of the plant's propshaft business, with the understanding that much of the Monroe factory's work force associated with its production would be used. The deal has not been completed.
When reached at his home by The Blade yesterday, plant UAW leader Robert Cebina was surprised to hear that the plant was closing. Managers had discussed the move, but he was unaware that a decision had been made.
"It's a disappointment," said Mr. Cebina, president of UAW Local 723 in Monroe.
Union members with sufficient seniority will have the opportunity to transfer to other Ford plants, he said.
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