Truth Staff

ELKHART -- Continental Automotive Systems U.S. Inc. is moving forward with a previously announced plant closure that will displace almost 100 workers.

In July 2008, the manufacturer stated it would shut down the entire facility on C.R. 6 before the end of spring 2010, according to a letter filed with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Continental attributed the decision to shutter the local plant to "adverse business conditions."

Continental now is proceeding with the closure and has scheduled the first round of layoffs to be implemented around March 31.

Company officials could not be reached for comment.

Currently 119 employees -- 61 salaried and 58 hourly -- work at the local plant, according to Continental's letter to the state.

It's expected that 91 hourly and salaried workers will be cut from the payroll during 2009 and 2010 with the remaining 28 being transferred to other Continental locations.

Continental, headquartered in Hanover, Germany, acquired the C.R. 6 operation from Siemens VDO Automotive Corp. in December 2007. Prior to the purchase, Siemens already had announced a partial closure of the Elkhart plant's assembly and molding operations by March 2008.

That closure was not completed by March, but an undisclosed number of employees were let go.

This latest round of downsizing comes after recreational vehicle makers Jayco Inc. and Keystone RV Co. announced on Monday combined layoffs of more than 600 workers.

In its 2007 annual report, Continental stated it was the fifth-largest automotive supplier in the world and the second-largest in Europe.

At the end of 2007, the company had six divisions and 151,654 employees in 36 countries.

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