Brewer Automotive Components plans shutdown

Posted Dec. 09, 2008, at 8:07 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — The national slowdown in the auto industry will cause a temporary shutdown at Brewer Automotive Components.

Company officials are anticipating a two-week shutdown starting Dec. 19 at the Brewer factory, where 117 workers make suspension and steering components for Toyota of North America and other automobile companies.

“This isn’t directly tied to the federal bailout,” Mike Seile, vice president of Brewer Automotive Components, said Tuesday evening. “This is tied to consumers not buying vehicles because of the financial crisis.”

Toyota of North America reported that sales in November plunged 34 percent from the same month last year, and Brewer Automotive Components sells about 75 percent of its parts to that company.

Seile said that nationally, Toyota is moving quickly to reduce its vehicle inventory and won’t need its usual supply of parts until then.

Brewer Automotive Components’ expected 2008 sales will be about $46 million, a $9 million increase over 2007.

“We’ve experienced a lot of growth,” said Seile. “We’ve got an inventory bubble until the financial crisis loosens up. We hope things will turn around.”

The anticipated two-week shutdown will include five holidays, and employees can use vacation time either from 2008 or 2009 so that they get paid for the remaining days.

The company usually shuts down for a week in December and a week in July to correct inventory and make changes, Seile said.

Brewer Automotive Components will get a 2009 business forecast around the end of January, and at that point will evaluate its plan for the coming year, Seile said.

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