Continental Announces Significant Expansion of its Newport News, Virginia Manufacturing Facility
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., December 15, 2008: Today, Continental announced that the Company will significantly expand the products manufactured at its Newport News, Virginia facility as part of the on-going consolidation of manufacturing operations in the Company's Engine Systems business unit. The expansion will involve the relocation of diesel fuel injection products currently manufactured at the Company's Blythewood, South Carolina facility to Newport News. Continental plans to invest more than $190 Million in the Newport News plant as part of this expansion project over the next two years, creating approximately 300 jobs by end of year 2013.
"Continental is continuously evaluating the Company's global manufacturing portfolio to develop new strategies for designing and manufacturing the highest quality products for our automotive and commercial vehicle customers," said Kregg Wiggins, Senior Vice President Powertrain, Continental Automotive Group - NAFTA region. "This expansion will achieve significant advantages for our customers by leveraging our expertise in developing gasoline and diesel technologies and reducing our overall manufacturing costs by eliminating redundancies and consolidating common functions."
The 366,000 square foot Newport News facility opened in 1971 and currently employs 576 people. The location produces gasoline fuel components (injectors and pressure regulators) for North American, European and Asian Original Equipment Manufacturers.
As part of the consolidation, Continental plans to close its Blythewood, South Carolina facility which currently manufactures diesel fuel injection products by the end of 2010. Currently, 440 people work at the 221,750 square foot Blythewood/Columbia Engineering facilities, which Continental opened in 2000. Continental made the decision to close the Blythewood facility and relocate the diesel manufacturing operations to Newport News after a comprehensive evaluation of the two plants. In the evaluation process, Continental analyzed both operational and financial factors, including the capacity and configuration of the two facilities, the ability to expand these facilities to accommodate additional product lines, plant performance and operational efficiency, facilities costs, administrative costs, state incentives, personnel and labor costs, and the ability to hire and retain skilled employees. Although both locations offered distinct advantages and unique opportunities, Continental ultimately concluded that Newport News offered a more desirable venue. The Blythewood facility will continue to operate for the next 12 - 18 months as product lines are transitioned to Newport News.
"We sincerely regret the impact that this decision will have on our employees and their families in Blythewood and appreciate their years of service," said Wiggins. "I have instructed our Human Resources team to immediately begin the process of assisting displaced Blythewood employees with their transition to other employment opportunities both inside and outside the Continental organization."
Some employees at the Blythewood facility will have the opportunity to apply for positions at Newport News, while Continental will assist others with outplacement services.
With targeted annual sales of more than Euro 26.4 billion ($40 billion US) for 2008, Continental is one of the top automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for the powertrain and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, the corporation contributes towards enhanced driving safety and protection of the global climate. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Today, the corporation employs approximately 146,500 people at nearly 200 locations in 36 countries.