German auto supplier closes plant
A German auto supplier is closing its plant in the region, a move that will affect 130 employees.
WKW Roof Rail Systems in Battle Creek, at 215 Hill Brady Rd. N, which is part of WKW.automotive out of Wuppertal, Germany, filed a notice today with the Michigan Workforce Development Agency, announcing the closure.
The plant is expected to cease operations completely by the end of August.
The company said its 130 employees will either be terminated or re-assigned as a result of the closure.
WKW.automotive said it is planning to move “significant business and personnel” to its plant in Portage, Bowers Manufacturing Company.
“The current business will be primarily consolidated into other WKW.automotive operations in Michigan and Alabama, with some limited work returning to Germany,” the company said. “These changes are due to a re-alignment of the company's operations.”
The decision ensures the company will be better able to fully utilize the capacity of its remaining facilities in North America, accelerating work already underway to reduce costs and improve competitiveness.
The WKW Roof Rail Systems facility in Battle Creek finalizes aluminum parts for automotive customers, primarily in the U.S.
The plant opened in 2014, taking over a former Toyota facility.
Michael Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., or MEDC, touted it at the time as one of Gov. Rick Snyder’s successes from his investment mission to Europe earlier that year.
WKW.automotive produces trim components, covers, moldings and roof rail systems for nearly all automobile manufacturers worldwide.