Kia cuts 20 U.S. staffers
LOS ANGELES - Kia Motors America will lay off 20 of its 225 employees at its headquarters in Irvine, Calif. The layoffs will affect the finance, human resources, information technology and consumer affairs departments. 'The layoffs are in areas that were startup-related positions, to get the company up and running,' said spokesman Geno Effler. 'Those systems have been completed, so those jobs are no longer required.' Kia sold 134,594 new vehicles in 1999, up 62.4 percent from 1998, but the company is still unprofitable, Effler said.
MERITOR OPENS PLANT
DETROIT - Meritor Automotive Inc. has opened its fourth plant in Mexico, its first wholly owned plant in that country.
The new Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems assembly plant in Queretaro, Mexico, was dedicated on Feb. 15. It initially will supply drive axles and related components to commercial truck assembly plants in Mexico.
The 120,000-square-foot plant cost more than $3 million and employs 40 workers. The plant has the capability to expand production to include other medium- and heavy-duty truck components, including front steer axles, trailer axles and brakes.
ADT REPORTS TOP MONTH
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - ADT Automotive Inc. said it had its most successful month ever in February. The company reported its 28 wholesale auctions sold more vehicles for its clients during the week of Feb. 5-11 than any other week in the company's 18-year history and the week of Feb. 19-25 was close behind.
In January Manheim Auctions announced it would buy ADT for $1 billion in cash. The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing the proposed transaction.
ADT auctioned 2.2 million vehicles in 1999.
LEXUS ADDS BLACK DEALERS
LOS ANGELES - Four black dealers have signed letters of intent to establish Lexus dealerships.
Steve Harrell in Union City, Ga. He operates a Toyota franchise.
Ellenae Henry-Fairhurst in Huntsville, Ala. She owns Dodge and Infiniti stores.
Winston Pittman in Savannah, Ga. He operates Dodge and Toyota franchises.
Sanford Woods in Ann Arbor, Mich. Woods has Toyota and Dodge stores.
The four new dealers bring Lexus' dealer count to 177 with 191 outlets; 6.2 percent of the dealerships are owned by women and minorities.