Honeywell to Begin Major Downsizing at Torrance Facility
By AMANDA BRONSTAD
Honeywell Garrett Engine Boosting, a division of New Jersey-based aerospace conglomerate Honeywell International Inc., will begin laying off 300 local workers this month as it closes down its Torrance plant.
The Torrance operation, which manufactures turbochargers for automobile and truck engines, is being consolidated into Honeywell’s plant in Mexicali, Mexico, said company spokesman Michael Timmermann.
Timmermann said the local layoffs are the result of slow sales in North and South America. The Torrance operation is the only U.S. plant within Honeywell Garrett’s turbocharging business, a 6,000-employee division headquartered in Torrance.
All the Torrance employees being laid off work in the 267,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at 3201 Lomita Blvd., Timmermann said. About 400 employees in engineering, marketing and other administrative jobs will remain at the plant. The aerospace division of Honeywell Garrett, which operates under Honeywell’s separate aerospace division, employs about 1,000 at 2525 190th St. in Torrance.
About 30 employees will be laid off Dec. 21, with the remaining in various stages through March or April, Timmermann said. They will receive severance packages and have already gotten incentive bonuses to stay on with the company until the plant closes.
“In the U.S. and North America, turbocharging is mainly used by the commercial truck market,” Timmermann said. “The truck market has been in a slump for a year or two and is expected to remain in the slump for another year or so. As a result, we have two plants one in Torrance, one in Mexicali that have been significantly underutilized. So we decided to consolidate into one plant, rather than have two underutilized plants.”
The layoffs come after Honeywell, which plans to merge with General Electric Co. pending the European Union’s approval, announced last April it would lay off 6,500 employees across the board.
In its financial report for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, Honeywell stated that its transportation and power systems sales were $851 million, down 2 percent from third quarter 2000. While the turbocharging business has been strong in Europe, the third-quarter sales dip was due to lagging North American sales, which mainly come from “heavy-duty truck builds.”
Much of the difference is caused by the greater number of diesel-engine cars in Europe, which use turbochargers.
Honeywell Garrett’s customers include Audi, BMW, Caterpillar, DaimlerChrysler, Saab, Volkswagen and International Truck Co.
Cliff Garrett formed the original Garrett Corp. in 1936 in Los Angeles, with the financial help of Jack Northrop. The company was primarily known as an aerospace manufacturer and, through a series of mergers, became part of Allied Signal Inc., which merged with Honeywell in 1999.
“Obviously, anytime you lose a business, there’s an impact because we have residents of the city of Torrance and (elsewhere in the) South Bay affected by a relocation,” said Brian Sunshine, assistant to the city manager of Torrance. “In this case, obviously the city is concerned about seeing manufacturing move out of town. But when you get to a large corporate structure, you get to a bottom-line decision.”