DETROIT -- Lear Corp. said it will increase production and add 285 jobs this year at its northwest Indiana seat manufacturing plant.
The company will spend more than $2.2 million at the plant, which will make seats for the new Ford Explorer SUV. Lear will hire production workers and some technical and administrative positions.
“This is good for middle America, especially since so many jobs were lost,” Lear spokesman Mel Stephens said today. “This isn’t just five jobs; it’s pretty big and significant.”
Production of the new Explorer will begin in the fourth quarter at Ford Motor Co.’s Chicago assembly plant. The Lear factory in Hammond, Ind., has supplied parts to the Chicago plant since the mid-1990s.
There are about 140 workers at the Lear plant. Former employees -- at least 100 laid-off workers -- will have an opportunity to get a job at the plant. After that, Stephens said, Lear will take applications.
Lear ranks No. 4 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 North American suppliers, with $4.9 billion in sales from automakers in 2008. The company employs 75,000 people at 197 facilities in 35 countries.