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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The Budd Co., one of Philadelphia's major employers for much of the 20th century, announced Friday that it is closing its last auto-parts plant in the city.

About 600 people work at the plant in Philadelphia's Hunting Park neighborhood that makes metal stampings and assemblies such as roofs, doors, fenders, tailgates, lift gates and body side panels. Many of the workers are longtime employees who are eligible for retirement, the company said.

The company said it has excess manufacturing capacity at its Detroit and Philadelphia plants and plans to consolidate the work in Detroit, which is closer to most of its customers, to reduce shipping costs.

Budd was founded in Philadelphia in 1912 and was one of the city's major employers for decades. In 1972, the company moved its headquarters to Troy, Mich., to be closer to its customers.

Budd operates 39 facilities with more than 12,000 employees in North America.

Mayor John F. Street called the decision ``unexpected'' and ``regrettable,'' but said he knew that the company's management had struggled for some time over the decision.

Street said city representatives had offered assistance in a meeting in September but company officials told them market conditions beyond the city's ability to influence were the real problem.

``We thank the Budd Company for its years of operations in Philadelphia and wish them well as they restructure their business,'' Street said in a statement.

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On the Net: http://www.buddcompany.com/