Domestic automakers slash area jobs:

January 1, 2007

Turmoil in the domestic auto industry cast uncertainty over thousands of central Indiana jobs in 2006.

Ford Motor Co.'s 2,000-worker east-side Indianapolis plant will close or be sold by the end of 2008, according to a plan the automaker unveiled in September.

The plant, which makes steering components, is part of Ford's Automotive Components Holdings LLC unit, which includes 23 troubled plants that used to be part of Visteon Corp., a Ford spin-off.

Business at the International Truck & Engine plant on Indianapolis' east side also took a hit with the tides of Ford, which is one of its major customers.

Ford said in August it would cut production by 21 percent through the end of the year, a move that International Truck & Engine officials said would cause the layoff of 380 workers at the Indianapolis plant.

International, which makes diesel engines for Ford trucks, began making sales calls on growing Japanese automobile companies, including Toyota and Honda, in early and mid-2006.

During the year, Ford slashed thousands of U.S. jobs, and offered to buy out 75,000 hourly workers.

In Anderson, the Delphi Automotive Corp. plant, which employs 220, was listed among those that don't fit into the Detroit company's core facilities and will be closed or sold after Delphi exits bankruptcy in 2007. Some of those jobs may be shifted to Delphi's Kokomo plant, but Delphi officials aren't making guarantees.

General Motors Corp. said it will cut 30,000 jobs and scale back or close 12 plants nationwide by 2008, including some with connections in central Indiana.

Not all was lost in the local automotive sector. The Subaru plant in West Lafayette made steady gains as it was announced that it would become a major manufacturer of Toyota Camrys, eventually making 100,000 per year. Plant officials there predicted adding hundreds of jobs in the coming months and years as production ramps up.

In July, Greensburg landed the nation's newest Honda plant, which at its completion in 2008, will employ 2,000.

More Chevys and Fords were sold in Indiana than any other vehicle. But global sales fell.
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