Saying that the heavy truck plant’s closure was a necessary step to address competitive market conditions, International Truck and Engine Corp. said today that it would close its Chatham, Ontario assembly plant July 18.
Production of International® 9000i Series Class 8 trucks will be transitioned from Chatham to the company's Escobedo, Mexico assembly plant.
"We understand that this is not an easy time for anyone affected by this announcement,” said Steve Keate, president of the company's truck group. “Even though we’ve been talking about this with employees for months, we realize that announcing a date signals the finality of closure."
Keate stated that this action, along with others, better positions International to profitably serve its heavy truck customers and contributes to the company's goal of profitability over the business cycle.
In December 2001, International announced that it needed to find additional cost reductions to make the plant competitive and followed up with a formal “consideration to close” letter on April 5, 2002.
In July 2002, the company reached a two-year contract with the Canadian Auto Workers union, which said the company would not close the plant before June 1, 2003. Unable to achieve necessary cost savings, International announced its plans to close the Chatham plant on October 17, 2002.
The Chatham plant is currently operating on one shift with approximately 900 employees. In addition to active employees, there are approximately 1,300 union employees on layoff status.