NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (Sept. 16, 2008) — Firestone Industrial Products Co. definitely will close its air springs plant in Noblesville, with the final shutdown expected in the second half of 2009.
The company first told workers and the United Steelworkers union, which represents hourly employees there, in June that it was considering shuttering the 72-year-old facility. Firestone Industrial Products and the USW entered into negotiations to try to find alternatives to closure but the firm said it “determined there were no other viable solutions to the problems the plant faces.”
The increasingly global nature of the air springs market has made it difficult for the firm to compete with manufacturers that operate lower-cost plants overseas, according to an FSIP statement.
About 300 are employed at Noblesville. The company said the operations will be gradually phased out. The plant makes both automotive and industrial air springs.
Firestone is the only U.S. manufacturer of the product. It operates non-union air springs operations in Williamsburg, Ky., and Dyersburg, Tenn. It also has air springs production facilities in Brazil and Poland and an assembly operation in China. It is constructing a manufacturing site in Costa Rica and is a partner in a joint venture that began producing air springs in India earlier this year.