Autoliv North America said Friday that it plans to close a facility in Indiana and consolidate the company's vehicle air-bag assembly operations at an Ogden plant.

The closure of the facility in Columbia City, Ind., will affect 380 workers there. The company will begin moving production lines to Ogden as soon as November, and plans to complete the transition by late fall 2009.

Kathy Whitehead, spokeswoman for Autoliv in Utah, said she believes the Ogden facility will not "see a significant change in overall employment strategy" with the Indiana plant closure. The company is always looking to use its labor more efficiently and in a cost-competitive manner, she said.

"We may need to hire additional employees, but we will look at those on a case-by-case basis," she said. "As those lines are transitioned, the intent is to transition them over the course of a year to 14 months."

"This was a hard decision, but it was necessitated by the steep decline in North American vehicle production," Whitehead said, noting that production had slipped from 16.3 million vehicles to 13 million in the past three years.

When the Indiana plant closes, Ogden will have Autoliv's only air-bag assembly facility in the United States. The Ogden assembly facility currently has about 1,100 employees. Autoliv has about 3,400 employees at five facilities in Utah. The remaining plants are in Promontory, Tremonton and Brigham City in Box Elder County and the Ogden Technical Center.

The Columbia City plant began operations in 1998, manufacturing steering wheels for the North American market. Over time, as the company moved steering-wheel activities to Mexico, the plant transitioned to air-bag assembly operations, producing driver-side, passenger-side and inflatable curtain air-bag products.

Autoliv North America is part of Autoliv Inc., which develops and produces vehicle safety systems. Including its joint ventures, Autoliv has more than 80 facilities with approximately 43,000 employees in 32 countries. It also has technical centers, including 21 test tracks, in 12 countries. The company had 2007 sales of $6.8 billion.


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