AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Continental this week announced that it will significantly expand the products manufactured at its Newport News, Va., facility as part of the ongoing consolidation of manufacturing operations in the company’s Engine Systems business unit. The expansion will involve the relocation of diesel fuel injection products currently manufactured at the company’s Blythewood, S.C., facility to Newport News. Continental plans to invest more than $190 million in the Newport News plant as part of this expansion project over the next two years, creating approximately 300 jobs by end of year 2013.
"Continental is continuously evaluating the company’s global manufacturing portfolio to develop new strategies for designing and manufacturing the highest quality products for our automotive and commercial vehicle customers," said Kregg Wiggins, senior vice president powertrain, Continental Automotive Group – NAFTA region. "This expansion will achieve significant advantages for our customers by leveraging our expertise in developing gasoline and diesel technologies and reducing our overall manufacturing costs by eliminating redundancies and consolidating common functions."
The 366,000-square-foot Newport News facility opened in 1971 and currently employs 576 people. The location produces gasoline fuel components (injectors and pressure regulators) for North American, European and Asian Original Equipment Manufacturers.
As part of the consolidation, Continental plans to close its Blythewood, S.C., facility which currently manufactures diesel fuel injection products by the end of 2010. Currently, 440 people work at the 221,750 square foot Blythewood/Columbia Engineering facilities, which Continental opened in 2000. Continental made the decision to close the Blythewood facility and relocate the diesel manufacturing operations to Newport News after a comprehensive evaluation of the two plants. The Blythewood facility will continue to operate for the next 12 to 18 months as product lines are transitioned to Newport News.
"We sincerely regret the impact that this decision will have on our employees and their families in Blythewood and appreciate their years of service," said Wiggins. "I have instructed our Human Resources team to immediately begin the process of assisting displaced Blythewood employees with their transition to other employment opportunities both inside and outside the Continental organization."
Some employees at the Blythewood facility will have the opportunity to apply for positions at Newport News, while Continental will assist others with outplacement services.