Whirlpool Corp. (Benton Harbor, Mich.) announced that it invested approximately $250 million in its North American manufacturing base in 2005.
“We continue to strengthen and extend our manufacturing base in North America, specifically in the U.S. and Mexico, to better improve our operating platform and to continue to remain competitive," said David L. Swift, executive vice president for the North American region.
In the last 12 months, Whirlpool has:
- Equipped its Clyde, Ohio, manufacturing facility for the production of new, top-loading clothes washer models.
- Prepared its Marion, Ohio, plant to manufacture new clothes dryers.
- Begun production of new models and the Fast Fill water dispenser for refrigerators/freezers in its Fort Smith, Ark., factory.
- Begun production of a new front-loading clothes washer in its Monterrey, Mexico, facility.
- Completed construction of a new refrigerator factory in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, to produce side-by-side refrigerator/freezer models, beginning in 2006 and employing 1,000 workers.
Once the Ramos Arizpe factory is operational in October 2006, as the manufacture of some products is shifted to Mexico, the company expects that approximately 730 employees at its Fort Smith, Ark., plant will be laid off. Whirlpool executives report that most of the layoffs will be voluntary and many of these employees will be recalled within 18 months as part of the normal attrition rate at the factory. The Fort Smith plant currently employs about 4,600 people who make side-by-side refrigerator/freezers, counter-depth refrigerators, trash compactors, and icemaker components.
With annual sales of more than $13 billion, and 68,000 employees, Whirlpool Corp. operates nearly 50 manufacturing and technology research centers around the globe. Pending final shareholder and regulatory approval, it is in the process of buying appliance manufacturer Maytag Corp. (Newton, Iowa) for $2.7 billion.
Source: Whirlpool Corp.