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American Axle To Close Hamtramck Plant

HAMTRAMCK (WWJ) – American Axle will soon close its Hamtramck plant, a company spokesman confirmed, Thursday.

According to WWJ AutoBeat reporter Jeff Gilbert, the company employed about 2,000 workers at the plant at Holbrook and I-75, only four years ago. It’s now down to 300 employees.

“You’ll recall that American Axle had a pretty big strike a couple of years ago. And, after that strike, the company seriously cut back that plant. They’ve been doing a lot of work elsewhere,” said Gilbert.

“So, that plant, which is very large, on the Detroit-Hamtramck border, has been working well under its capacity,” he said.

Gilbert said American Axle hasn’t been making much money on the plant, and they will likely be able to make the same parts a little more profitably somewhere else.

Christopher Son, Director Investor Relations, Corporate Communications & Marketing for American Axle, said the plant will close on or after February 26, 2012.

“Shifts in market demand toward more fuel-efficient passenger cars and cross-over vehicles significantly reduced customer production volumes for the light truck programs supported by this facility,” said Son, in a statement.

“As such, in order to ensure a viable and sustainable future for this facility, it was necessary that, one, AAM achieve a new market competitive labor agreement and, two, win new business for the facility that would overcome the high fixed costs of running the complex. Unfortunately, AAM has not been able to accomplish either of these objectives,” he said.

The Detroit Manufacturing Complex produces front axles, rear axles and steering linkages for the light truck segment.

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