MILWAUKEE-Battery maker Johnson Controls Inc. plans to close two U.S. plants within the next six months, shortly after opening a factory in Mexico. The new plant is not part of a job shift from the U.S. to Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement, said Michael Johnston, general manager of Johnson Controls' Battery Group.
The company said its loss last year of a major aftermarket contract-to manufacture about 5 million Die-Hard batteries a year for Sears, Roebuck and Co.-accelerated the schedule to close its Owosso, Mich., and Dallas plants.
Johnson Controls is the No. 2 supplier of batteries to automakers in North America, behind AC Delco Systems, a General Motors Corp. unit. Carmakers accounted for about 15 percent of Johnson Controls' $700 million in sales in fiscal 1994.