OPPENWEILER, Germany—ContiTech A.G. is planning to shut down its hose assembly plant in Oppenweiler by the end of March 2022. The closure of the unit, which employs 312 and manufactures refrigerant lines for the passenger car and commercial vehicle sectors, is part of $170 million "margin improvement program" ContiTech disclosed in 2018.
Continental originally planned to end production at the facility in June 2019.
Instead, a phased downsizing of the facility will start at the end of this year, with the dismantling and relocation of the lines and machines continuing throughout 2021.
Since disclosing plans to close the facility, the number of employees have been reduced from 340 to 312 as a result of "natural staff turnover, scheduled retirements and cutting back contract staff," Continental said. Following negotiations with employee representatives, ContiTech said it had agreed to provide training support for 12 months to its staff "without any interim period of unemployment."
Sales figures in Oppenweiler have "fallen continually" during the past six years, despite efforts to put the site "on a competitive and profitable footing," ContiTech said.
Despite moves to upgrade the plant, through partial automation and process improvements, the unit has been operating at a loss "for many years," Christian Pfistner, the site's financial director at the site, said last year.
"That is not going to change in the future, either. This step is therefore a necessary response," Pfistner added.
Operational since 1975, the manufacturing unit was established by Kuehner and taken over by Continental at the beginning of 2000.