Automotive supplier closes two factories and DC

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Schaeffler, the automotive component manufacturer, has set out plans to close its logistics centre at Sutton Coldfield along with factories at Plymouth and Llanelli, as part of a plan to move production to sites outside the UK.

It said: “The uncertainty surrounding Brexit was one factor among others in the analysis of the UK market.”

The company currently has two logistics centres, one in Sutton Coldfield, handling industrial products, and one in Hereford, handling automotive aftermarket products.

The proposal is to combine operations at Hereford enabling various synergies and efficiencies. The majority of the office-based employees from the Sutton Coldfield location will be relocated to a leased office in the vicinity of Sutton Coldfield.

The closure of the Llanelli and Plymouth sites will result in production moving to plants in the US, China, South Korea and Germany.

The Plymouth site mainly produces spindle bearings and machine parts for Schaeffler’s Industrial division and additionally specialised bearings for the aerospace and defence industries.

The Llanelli plant produces mechanical tappets and special-purpose bearings made for automotive OEMs and selected industrial customers.

A third plant that assembles clutches for passenger cars and tractors in Sheffield, will be retained.

The company said that only 15 per cent of the goods Schaeffler produces in the UK remain in the country, while the vast majority is exported to continental Europe.

Regional CEO Europe Juergen Ziegler said: “What we are planning for the UK delivers on our ‘Agenda 4 plus One’ programme. Brexit is clearly not the single decisive factor behind our decision-making for the UK market, but the need to plan for various complex scenarios has brought forward the timing.”

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