Mahle to consolidate Vandalia, Dayton plants

More than 300 workers at the former Dephi Thermal plant in Vandalia will move to the Mahle Behr plant in Dayton by the end of 2016 as part of plans announced Friday to integrate Mahle’s local operations.

In July, Germany-based automotive industry supplier Mahle GmbH completed its $727 million acquisition of Delphi’s global thermal management business, including the facility at 250 Northwoods Blvd. in Vandalia.

Last year, Mahle took a majority ownership stake in the Behr Group, which owns a manufacturing plant at 1600 Webster St. in Dayton.

Both facilities produce similar thermal and heating, air conditioning and ventilation products for vehicles.

Merging the Dayton and Vandalia facilities, located eight miles apart, offers Mahle the best opportunity to take advantage of the manufacturing synergies at the two plants, company officials said.

Production lines, existing projects and employees in Vandalia will be integrated into the Dayton plant in several phases, starting this month. The integration is expected to be concluded by December 2016.

“As we continue to evaluate our footprint we think this integration is a necessary step to leverage current and future business growth into one manufacturing site in Ohio,” said Wilm Uhlenbecker, head of Mahle’s Thermal Management business in North America, in a statement.

“Following the integration, it is expected that the Mahle Dayton plant will employ over 1,300 employees, making the site a profitable asset for Mahle North American manufacturing and for the city of Dayton,” Uhlenbecker said.

In February, Delphi Automotive agreed to sell its thermal business to Mahle for cash consideration of about $727 million. The deal included 13 Delphi Thermal production plants in eight countries, as well as three research and development centers in the U.S. and Luxembourg.

As a result of the acquisition, about 7,500 Delphi Thermal workers are expected to bring the total number of Mahle employees worldwide to more than 75,000 by the end of 2015.

City of Vandalia spokesman Rich Hopkins said city officials weren’t surprised by the announcement.

“They have two plants relatively close to each other doing very similar things; it makes a lot of sense for them to consolidate,” Hopkins said.

The Vandalia facility has Interstate 75 frontage and is located adjacent to the Northwoods Boulevard exit ramp. “We don’t anticipate the building will be empty for long once they do vacate,” Hopkins said.

The Vandalia plant, which has more than 300 workers, was one of five U.S. Delphi facilities to continue operating through Delphi’s time in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, from October 2005 to October 2009.

The Mahle Behr plant, once owned by Chrysler, has operated since the 1930s. That facility employs more than 1,000 workers and has 1.1 million square feet of space, about 65 percent of which is now being used for manufacturing, plant manager Rob Baker told the Dayton Daily News in February.

Slightly more than half of the 650,000 square feet of space at the Vandalia plant is being used for manufacturing, Baker said.

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