Brewer auto parts manufacturer to close next year

Posted Jan. 19, 2009, at 5:04 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — A local automotive parts company that employs 127 people in eastern Maine announced on Monday that it will be phased out by mid-2010 in yet another ripple effect of the sagging national economy.

Representatives from ZF Lemforder, a worldwide supplier of driveline and chassis components with U.S. headquarters in Northville, Mich., were in Brewer to deliver the bad news.

“We are saddened to learn that the Brewer facility will be phased out,” said D’arcy Main-Boyington, Brewer’s economic development director. “The city has worked closely with ZF Lemforder for many years, and they have been a great part of this community. The loss of these jobs and their corporate citizenship will be a blow to the entire region.”

The company, which operates 119 plants in 25 counties, said other plants in the U.S. will be affected.

“The industry is facing unprecedented consolidation and commoditization of the product base,” said Bruce Wrenbeck, vice president for chassis components at Lemforder. “With the significant reduction in vehicle production volumes and a continual increase in competition, we are forced to make very difficult decisions in order to maintain our viability.”

The Brewer plant, located in the city’s East-West Industrial Park, opened in 1980 and was Lemfoder’s first North American plant.

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