Lower costs lure plant to Oklahoma City

Tuesday, June 24th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Lower business operating costs helped lure an auto parts plant from New Jersey to Oklahoma City, officials said.

Aftermarket Technology Corp. will begin closing its transmission remanufacturing plant in Mahwah, N.J., at the end of June and start transferring operations to Oklahoma City, company spokeswoman Mary Ryan said Monday.

``We expect to complete it sometime in the fourth quarter,'' Ryan said of the transfer. ``It will be phased in. It's not going to happen in one fell swoop. It will be a phased move and startup.''

Aftermarket Technology employs about 800 people at its Autocraft Industries remanufacturing plant in far west Oklahoma City, company spokesman William Timmie said. That operation remanufactures transmissions and transaxles primarily for the Ford Motor Co.

The new manufacturing plant is only ``about a par four from us, just across a field,'' Timmie said.

Components for various import customers, including Mitsubishi, Subaru and Honda will be made there, he said.

Mike DuBose, chairman, president and chief executive of Westmont, Ill.-based Aftermarket Technology, said his company was looking for a location that offered a lower cost of doing business.

DuBose said Oklahoma City offers ``a more competitive cost structure overall.''

``As part of our operational improvement initiative, we continually evaluate opportunities for cost savings. Mahwah is our oldest, most dated and highest labor cost facility,'' he said.