The Marelli plant on Nash Street in Sanford.

Marelli, formerly Magneti Marelli, confirmed they are closing their Sanford plant and moving production to Mexico.

The plant will remain operational “until late 2021 (September-December),” spokeswoman Lisa Van Giesen, head of Marketing and Communications, said in an email to The Sanford Herald.

“The automotive industry is facing a number of prolonged challenges; vehicle volumes are trending downward, exacerbated by COVID-19, while the introduction of new technology from non-traditional suppliers is forcing Tier 1s to review operations to increase effectiveness,” Van Giesen wrote.

“As part of Marelli’s ongoing strategy to strengthen its market position, we will relocate our US-based powertrain operations to Saltillo, Mexico. This move will result in improved service levels to our customers through measurable quality improvements, fixed expense reductions, lower labor costs and supply chain improvements.”

Van Giesen said the Sanford location, which opened here in 1976, employs about 300 workers. They produce automotive powertrain technologies including intake manifolds, electronic throttle bodies and engine control systems for automobiles, motorcycles, powersports, and industrial engines.

In 2019, after Magnetti Marelli was bought by Calsonic Kansei, a Japanese company, for $6.5, the company changed its name to just Marelli to “compete even more effectively on a global scale,” a news release states.

There are currently other plants in Juárez, Mexico; Tepotzotlán, Mexico; Saltillo, Mexico; Clarkston, Michigan; Pulaski, Tennessee; and El Paso, Texas.

Van Giesen did not say if there were other planned plant closures elsewhere.

The closure was announced in an email to employees last week from Fabrizio Righetti, general manager of Powertrain for Marelli North Carolina.

Fabrizio said in the email shared with The Sanford Herald that beginning this month, the company will “move equipment and assembly lines, in a staggered fashion, from our plant in Sanford to fa new plant in the Ramos Arizpe area of Saltillo.”

The email said the plant’s foundry operations will be outsourced to a supplier.

“The move will allow us to restore business continuity while reducing service level risks,” Fabrizio said in the email to Sanford employees.

The 97,000 square foot Sanford plant at located at 2101 Nash St.