WATER VALLEY – Declines in U.S. auto sales, including hefty declines by GM and Ford, have contributed to recent layoff at BorgWarner Air/Fluid Systems, Yalobusha County’s largest private employer.
“Unfortunately we are laying off approximately 40 employees,” said Bill Liacone, plant manager. “It is related to recent announcements of volume reductions from our prime customers.”
GM, the nation’s No. 1 auto seller, said auto sales fell a greater-than-expected 30 percent in May to 272,363 vehicles. Truck and SUV sales dropped 39 percent, while car sales fell 17 percent.
Despite weak auto sales in North America, BorgWarner, Inc. reported record earnings for the first quarter of 2008. The company announced on May 2 that demand for its fuel-efficient technologies in Europe and Asia drove the record sales and earnings.
“Our sales outside of the U.S. were up 15 percent,” said Tim Manganello, Chairman and CEO. “Our sales in the U.S. declined four percent due to lower U.S. vehicle production, which was down eight percent.”
BorgWarner currently has 479 employees at the Water Valley plant, according to Rodney Francis, human resource manager.