Cequent Electrical Products intends to lay off 42 employees — mostly production workers — at its Tekonsha, Mich., facility, according to a report by the Battle Creek Enquirer. The layoffs will be completed by July, the company said.
The facility will remain in operation, but the cuts will reduce its staff level by about one-third, leaving 88 employees at Tekonsha while the company moves a portion of its manufacturing business to Mexico, a company spokesman said.
“Tekonsha is going to remain the center for all electrical product development” for the company, said Cequent’s spokesman, Al Upchurch of the Farmington Hills-based public-relations firm Marx Layne & Co. “The company will continue to invest in that key area of their business.”
Cequent manufactures automotive brake controls as well as lighting equipment for recreational vehicles and trailers, Upchurch said. One of its electronic brake-control brands for trailers carries the Tekonsha name.
Upchurch said the company intends to move manufacture of original-equipment and aftermarket brake controls to a facility based in the city of Reynosa, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Production of the company’s Bargman brand lighting products also is being moved to Reynosa, he said. Aftermarket products are sold to auto-supply stores for use in repairs.
The transfer of production to Mexico “allows Cequent to remain competitive and ensures that a large piece of its automotive business will remain with the company through 2019,” Upchurch said.
Upchurch said the layoffs would occur in two phases, the first to be completed by the end of March 2012 and the second by the end of July.
The Battle Creek Enquirer reported that Tekonsha Village President Corey Wood said he and other village officials have been in touch with representatives of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., which works with communities to foster new business.
“My hopes are that we can get a little closer relationship with the MEDC and see what they can do for us,” Wood said. “We’ve got a beautiful industrial park, and Tekonsha is in a great location for picking up business, especially with the closeness of the highway and state roads.” The village of about 700 residents lies southeast of the intersection of Interstate 69 and M-60.
The local facility opened in 1963 under the name Tekonsha Engineering and was bought in 2002 by Cequent, a division of Bloomfield Hills-based TriMas Corp. The company also cut its Tekonsha staffing by about 50 employees in the spring of 2009.
TriMas has approximately 4,000 employees at more than 60 different facilities in 11 countries, according to its website.