Lear Corp set to relocate seating work from Hungary plant to Moldova

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US automotive components supplier Lear Corporation is understood to be planning to shut down a car seating covers production plant in northern Hungary laying off more than 800 workers, according to local media reports.

The vehicle parts manufacturer is initiating a gradual production wind down at the facility located at Mór in western Hungary up to the end of this year, the Hungarian news agency MTI quoted a national union leader Zsolt Kozma as saying.

According to Hungarian media, the Southfield, Michigan-based auto electrical systems and seating parts specialist intends to relocate the production to Moldova where it already operates a plant at Ungheni near Iasi. Lear is seeking lower labour costs.

Lear, which has run the Mór plant since 1993, serves global automotive manufacturing customers including Porsche, Mercedes and BMW from this facility. The company’s seating division has two more Hungarian plants at Györ and Szolnok as well as two more electrical systems units.

The Hungarian government’s Ministry of National Economy has stated that it is monitoring the situation and intends to assist the affected Lear employees. Laid off workers will be offered help with training and efforts to find replacement work, the government said in a statement.

The layoff follows a February announcement by Lear Corp. that it had agreed to acquire the vehicle seating business of the global Spain-based automotive components company Grupo Antolin.      

Its seating business, headquartered in France, has production and sales units in five countries across Europe. Antolin operations include the manufacture of seating trim, seat structures and mechanisms and just-in-time seat assembly. Its customers include Peugeot Citroen, Renault Nissan, Daimler and Volkswagen.

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