How will Lordstown closure impact Borgers Ohio?

Cary Ashby • Dec 4, 2018 at 9:15 PM

It’s unknown exactly what impact the early 2019 closing of the Lordstown plant might have on Borgers Ohio Inc. in Norwalk.

“For us, that’s to be determined,” Borgers plant manager James Cook said Tuesday.

General Motors announced on Nov. 26 it will cease production of the Chevrolet Cruze in early 2019 — the only vehicle its Lordstown plant produces. GM, in a press release, has said it will cut 15 percent of its salaried workers and new products will be brought to fewer plants next year. 

While Cook said Borgers Ohio isn’t prepared to make a formal comment, he added it’s possible that closing Lordstown “could have no impact at all.”  

“If it is going to impact them, we are going to help in any way we can,” said Heather Horowitz, director of the Norwalk Economic Development Corp.

Borgers Ohio, an automotive industry supplier, opened its Norwalk plant on Industrial Parkway in 2015 with a skeleton crew of 14 employees. As of mid-October, there were 292 workers.

Shortly it was announced in mid-October that Borgers would close its Alabama plant by the middle of 2019 and concentrate production in Norwalk. Human resources manager Gary Smith said the move would bring about 100 full-time employees to the Maple City. He also said the plant “will be assuming some of that BMW business” that the Alabama facility handled, but none of the Mercedes work. Prior to that, Borgers Ohio focused on GM.

“I understand they have diversified,” Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan said without elaborating Tuesday. “They are continuing to hire; I can say that.”

When asked about the impact of the Lordstown plant closing on Borgers Ohio, he said “we’ve had some conversations, but they are confidential, so I can’t really say.”

“There’s a confidential agreement I can’t break,” the mayor added.

The decision to close the Alabama plant leaves Norwalk as Borgers’ only facility in the United States. With its headquarters in Bocholt, Germany, Borgers has a total of 23 locations in Europe, China and the U.S.

When the GM Lordstown plant, along with three others, does close its doors, about 14,700 employees will be laid off, according to Fox 8. The Cleveland TV station also reported nearly 3,000 jobs have been eliminated at Lordstown over the past two years.

GM has said the moves will save $6 billion in cash by the end of next year, including $4.5 billion in recurring annual cost reductions and a $1.5 billion reduction in capital spending.

Duncan said the Lordstown news shouldn’t have a large impact on Borgers Ohio since the Alabama facility is being consolidated and transferred into Norwalk.

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