Franklin Mitsubishi plant laying off 87-WEB ONLY

A Franklin automotive supplier bruised by lagging sales plans to halt production in two months, putting 87 employees out of work.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Climate Control said in a state filing today that it will stop making automotive air conditioning parts June 7 and will not resume production until demand picks up.

The subsidiary of Japan-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries LTD said it is not closing the plant, but is uncertain how long production lines will be down.

Mitsubishi has about 140 workers and had planned to expand to 175 employees by 2011. The company’s Greenwood plant closed in September, eliminating 60 jobs.

Franklin, already reeling from the troubles of the automotive industry, continues to shed manufacturing jobs, Mayor Fred Paris said this morning. KYB Manufacturing and NSK Precision America, both based in Franklin, have laid off workers, and Houston-based Trussway Ltd. plans to close its plant later this year.

But the city is less reliant on manufacturing jobs than it was a decade ago, the mayor said, when it relied heavily on the former Columbus-based Arvin Industries. That plant’s closing left 1,000 workers jobless.

“We are diversified here more than we’ve ever been,” Paris said, “but we still have a lot of automotive jobs.”

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