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UPDATE: Layoffs to hammer Delphi in Kokomo

August 18, 2008
Delphi Corp. said today that it will lay off 600 salaried employees in its Electronics & Safety Division as part of an effort to cut costs by 25 percent. It said the layoffs will fall heaviest on its Kokomo operations, where about 2,500 of the division's 3,340 salaried employees are based.

Though three out of four of the division's salaried jobs are in Kokomo, spokesman Milton Beach said that doesn't necessarily mean 75 percent of the cuts will be in the north-central Indiana city.

The Kokomo offices house workers with technical and business backgrounds, many having a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

Car buyers concerned about the weak economy are opting for fewer expensive radios and rear-seat entertainment systems - the kinds of equipment designed by Delphi, Beach said.

"The automobile industry is facing some pretty tough times," he said.

The domestic market is on track to buy 13.8 million vehicles this year, he said, well behind the mediocre 15.5 million total from last year.

Delphi Electronics & Safety President Jeff Owens began informing workers of the layoffs this morning. The workers will be informed by Aug. 29 and out of the company by the end of the year.

Delphi also has 1,600 hourly employees in Kokomo.

Based in Troy, Mich., Delphi has been struggling to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

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