Another 260 West Midland automotive jobs are being lost with the end of manufacturing at a components plant and the transfer of production to Turkey.
Workers at Nobel Automotive UK Ltd, at Junction 6 Industrial Park in Witton, face the dole queue in the latest major blow to the region’s car parts sector.
Production at the plant has been earmarked to end in early May by Turkish owners, Orhan Holding, with all 160 permanent manufacturing workers set to be laid off. Around 100 temporary workers have already been shed in the run-up to the proposed shutdown.
Plant manager Roy Thomson said: “We are ceasing manufacturing at this site in early May. Sales have been dropping dramatically due to the economic climate and also changing vehicle technology.
“A decision has been made to relocate production elsewhere, and that it is likely to be to Turkey. The factory may stay open with a few sales people but you are only talking about eight or so in total.
“It is a very difficult time for everybody - our shopfloor have been on reduced hours for a number of weeks. It’s very sad news for a lot of people; we have a very dedicated and skilled workforce and a dedicated management team and we are proud of what we put together here.”
Mr Thomson said the Witton factory had been severely hit by the shrinking market for hydraulic power steering systems, and their replacement by electric systems.
“We have not designed any new products or diversified into other markets. It is very difficult for our sales force to find any other business.
“The market for hydraulic power steering has significantly shrunk.”
A worker, who asked not to be named, said: “Most people here have kids and mortgages. Will manufacturing ever return to Birmingham?”
The Witton factory supplies to car firms including Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Volkswagen and General Motors.