Benteler Automotive closing facility in Opelika, 121 lost jobs expected

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Benteler Automotive is announcing plans to close its' manufacturing operations located at 4401 North Park Dr., Opelika, Alabama. Current plans are for the facility to continue in operation another 5-6 months as manufacturing operations are transferred to other operations in South Carolina and Mexico.

121 employees are expected to lose their jobs.

Earlier this year, Benteler Automotive (based in Paderborn, Germany) announced that it was strategically repositioning all of its global manufacturing operations. Initial analysis indicated that as many as four to five manufacturing operations would likely be closed globally. After extensive evaluation, Benteler's Opelika facility was identified as one of the plants to be closed in NA. Recently, Benteler also announced plans to close another of its NA operations in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Executive Vice President for Benteler NAO, Otto Buschsieweke, stated:

"We have been studying our manufacturing footprint in NA intensively for several months to support our global strategy and to streamline our manufacturing footprint. The decisions we are making now are critical to maintaining and strengthening our ability to support Benteler's NA customers long-term. This decision clearly has an unsettling impact on our associates at Opelika - we are very sensitive to that and are committed to providing a solid plan of support for our people in the weeks ahead."

Benteler Automotive currently employs 22,000, has 20 development and sales offices around the world, and 74 plants in 29 countries. It develops and produces complete system modules and product components for the automotive industry, producing critical components for vehicle bodies, chassis, and engines. Its products contribute strongly to the safety and efficiency of vehicles while also reducing their weight/environmental footprint. One recent innovation that Benteler is offering its' customers is the light-weight integrated manifold design in production today for modern automotive engines.

Benteler Automotive, headquartered in Paderborn, Germany, belongs to the internationally operating Benteler Group – a global holding group comprised of Benteler Automotive, Benteler Steel/Tube, and Benteler Distribution. The Benteler Group employs 30,000 at 170 locations in 28 countries. The company is privately held and has been in operation for over 135 years.