Local Work Force
Will Be Reduced
In Gradual Process,
Starting This Fall
Huf North America Automotive Manufacturing Corporation announced this morning that it plans to close its Greeneville plant at the end of 2012.
"From fall this year, the number of employed -- currently 253 -- will be reduced by degrees," a HUF press release said.
"The announcement was made early in order to provide as much advance notice to employees and the community as possible," the statement added. "Together with the employees, the company will work out service to support the transition."
Commenting on Huf's announcement, GCP President Randy Harrell said this morning, "Once again the recession and staggering economy have struck Greene County.
"It is saddening news to learn that one more of our most reputable industries will be closing the doors in 2012.
"It has reached the point where nothing seems to surprise me anymore.
"I hope that our local citizens affected by the eventual closure will find jobs and possibly take advantage of workforce development initiatives offered through Walters State Community College."
"We regret very much that we are forced to take this decision," the Huf news release quoted Johannes Michalski, president of Huf North America, a German-owned company.
"Due to the slump in demand, our customers, the car manufacturers, increased price pressure on suppliers, which made it necessary for Huf to concentrate our business activities in the United States and Mexico," Michalski said.
The company, a supplier to the automotive industry, said, "Several Greeneville employees are offered relocation packages."
Huf North America's headquarters is in Milwaukee, Wis., and a sales office is in Southfield, Mich.
Huf North America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Huf Hülsbeck & Fürst GmbH & Co. KG, headquartered in Velbert, Germany.
The Huf Group employs about 5,000 people worldwide and has operations in 13 countries.
The company's statement said, "In June 2008 Huf began expansion into Mexico which customers have been very positive about due to the ability to provide effective customer service and a closer proximity to their Mexican operations."
Huf said the company "is known as a leader in technology in the area of developing and producing car access and security systems."
Passive entry systems, ID-devices and keys, electrical tailgate latches, electronic control units, electronic steering column locks, door handles as well as releases and start-stop buttons or receptacles are used by Huf customers VW, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Audi, Hyundai, Kia, Jaguar and LandRover.
HUF IN GREENEVILLE
HUF-North America announced in January 1995 that it would be building a plant in Greeneville.
HUF's investment in the Greeneville plant in the Mt. Pleasant Industrial Park was reported then to be about $6.5 million, with the cost of the equipment being greater than that for the building.
The local HUF plant has 54,000 square feet of production space, and 17,000 square feet for offices.
In 1990, HUF opened its first U.S. facility in Wisconsin. It then began looking for a place in North America to locate an assembly plant.
"We had a very close look at Mexico," a Huf executive said then, as well as surveying plant site possibilities in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee."
Dr. Dieter Kopperschlager, who was president of HUF-Tennessee, said in 1995, "We are very, very happy to be in Greene County with our second location in the United States."