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Va. Nippon Wiper Blade Plant to Close

January 23, 2003

DINWIDDIE, Va. (AP) _ Nippon Wiper Blade Co. Ltd. plans to close a plant that makes windshield-wiper blades at the end of March, leaving about 240 employees without jobs.

Nippon Wiper Blade president Hitoshi Sakurai said Wednesday the tight economy and a need to reduce costs led the company to close the plant,.

The NWB plant has operated in Dinwiddie since 1998. Production of blades for U.S. and foreign automakers and parts shops will cease March 22, but some employees will stay on after that date, said Helene Archer, human resources manager for NWB.

The closing affects about 140 full-time employees and 100 temporary workers, ranging from secretaries to machine operators, Archer said.

NWB is Nippon’s only production plant in the United States. The plant’s assembly operations will be routed to Nippon sites in Japan and Malaysia. A Nippon warehouse in Greenville, N.C., will absorb NWB’s quality-assurance and distribution-management duties.

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