U.S. supplier Cooper-Standard Automotive plans to shutter factories and cut jobs in Germany and France as it restructures its European operations.
The company said it will close or downsize “certain facilities with high costs and unutilized capacity” in western Europe, including Germany and France.
The company declined to name which factories will be closed or downsized.
Cooper-Standard has 12 factories in western Europe and 8 in eastern Europe. Half of its sales in 2013 were made in the U.S., while France represented 10 percent and Germany 8 percent. Overall Europe accounted for 35 percent of its global sales.
The supplier is a global leader in the supply of body sealing products and other components.
CEO Jeffrey Edwards said in a statement that "restoring our competitive position in Europe is critical to our strategy of driving profitable growth and becoming a top 30 global automotive supplier.”
Cooper-Standard said it expects to complete its restructuring activities by the end of 2017 at a cost of $120 million to $125 million and to achieve savings of $50 million to $55 million as a result. The actions are subject to consultation with employee works councils and other approvals, the supplier said.
Chief Operating Officer Keith Stephenson told Automotive News Europe in an email that the company is evaluating which facilities will be impacted “based on ensuring we best meet the needs of our customers." The company would not provide any specifics on the closure, downsizing or transfers of production until this evaluation was complete, he said.
Eric Fedewa, IHS Automotive head of powertrain and component forecasts, said Cooper-Standard is doing what essentially all suppliers are doing - “looking at huge growth opportunities in China and India and to a lesser extent Brazil and possibly Russia.”
Fedewa said: “Vehicle manufacturers are making high volume global platforms and are increasingly making their cars where they sell them, which also has the benefit of insulating themselves against currency fluctuations. In this environment they also need their components to be produced near to their manufacturing plants and suppliers are responding to this expectation," he said.
Cooper-Standard has expanded significantly since 2006, acquiring fluid handling systems operations in North America, Europe and China, sealing systems operations in Europe and joint venture interests in China and India. In 2011 it established a joint venture in France to combine its body sealing operations there with those of a French supplier of anti-vibration systems, low pressure hoses and body sealing products. It also acquired an Italian automotive sealing business which it integrated with its operations in Italy and Poland.
The company is ranked 67th on the Automotive News Europe list of the largest auto suppliers globally.
At present Cooper Standard manufactures body sealing products at plants in Lillebonne, Rennes and Vitre in France; Lindau and Mannheim in Germany; Battipaglia and Cirie in Italy; Bielsko-Biala, Czestochowa, Dzierzoniow, Myslenice and Piotrkow Trybunalski in Poland; Craiova in Romania; and Sremska Mitrovica in Serbia.
Fluid handling products are made at Gruenber, Hockenheim and Schelklingen in Germany; Creutzwald in France; and Craiova in Serbia. The supplier produces anti-vibration systems in Czestochowa, Poland.