Brose Canada's London manufacturing facility. (Photo courtesy of Brose Canada)Brose Canada's London manufacturing facility. (Photo courtesy of Brose Canada)

London auto-parts plant cutting hundreds of jobs

An auto-parts manufacturing giant is laying off nearly all of the workers at its London plant.

Brose Canada announced Thursday it will be cutting more than 300 positions at the facility on Max Brose Drive by the end of 2023.

"With deep regret, due to a combination of internal and external factors, Brose North America will downsize its London, Ontario facility. This decision will eliminate most of the onsite positions... as seat production lines transition from London to other locations," Wilm Uhlenbecker, president of Brose North America, said in a statement.

He added that order losses and significantly lower production volumes have created overcapacity at several of the company's plants. In addition, auto manufacturers are increasingly putting pressure on parts suppliers to bring down prices and shift production to lower cost countries.

"This was not an easy decision but cost priorities, parts shortages, lowered production volumes, and other market turbulence have made competitive manufacturing at our London location impossible," said Uhlenbecker.

Once seat production comes to an end late next year, the London facility will become a stand-alone press shop with only approximately 40 employees.

"As a company with values rooted in family, respect and teamwork, we recognize these cutbacks are painful. We took every measure to protect employees and will provide support to all those impacted during this difficult transition," said Uhlenbecker "We will work tirelessly to reassign as many eligible employees as possible to other Brose locations."

Brose opened its London auto-parts plant in 2005. It manufactured seat adjusters, seat components and doors systems for Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Volkswagen, and Ford. At its height, it employed more than 600 people.

At the start of 2019, the company announced the layoff of around 100 employees at the London plant. At that time it cited shifting consumer demands as the reason for the cuts.

Brose, the fourth-largest family-owned automotive supplier worldwide, employs 30,000 people at 70 locations in 25 countries. The London plant is its only facility in Canada.

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