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Magneti Marelli closing Kingsport facility

Sharon Caskey Hayes • Nov 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Magneti Marelli North America Inc. plans to close its floor operations at its Kingsport manufacturing plant, idling about 40 workers.

Magneti Marelli, formerly known as COFAP, opened here in 1998 in a $32 million manufacturing plant at the Northeast Tennessee Business Park near the Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

The Italian-Brazilian automotive supplier manufactured shock absorbers at the Kingsport facility until 2003, when it moved its production operations back to Brazil.

At the time, the company said the move was necessary to save money on labor, energy and material costs. More than 40 people lost their jobs.

The company retained a shipping and receiving operation here, and some inspection lines.

Now those operations are moving to Brazil as well, impacting another 40 employees.

In a prepared statement issued late Friday, the company said the closure is the result of its 2008 budget shortfalls and related issues.

The company plans to put its building here up for sale.

Until it’s sold, a small staff will be maintained onsite to support the company’s North American customers and those at its facility in Detroit, according to the release.

“The company expects this transition to begin next week and to conclude by the end of December or possibly early next year,” the release stated.

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