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Tower will not supply Ford Explorer frames

Tower Automotive announced last week that it will not continue to supply the next Ford Explorer frames, which are produced in Corydon by some 800 workers.
“The future status of that facility has not yet been determined,” Tower said in a written announcement.
The current Explorer contract runs through 2006.
Doug Campbell, president and chief executive officer of Tower Automotive, said: “We have been active in the early design and bid process for the next Explorer.
“However, our decision not to support this particular product renewal is based strictly on the fact that the expected returns at targeted pricing levels did not meet our requirements,” Campbell said.
“This decision, though a difficult one in light of our strong Ford relationship and the long supply history of this product, is consistent with our commitment to increase shareholder value by investing our capital resources more selectively and by deploying the increased free cash flow to strengthen our balance sheet.”
Campbell said the decision does not impact the company’s previously announced backlog of $1.4 billion of new business, two-thirds of which will be launched by the middle of 2004.
“This business is new content for Tower Automotive and is evidence of our continued emphasis on organic growth,” he said.
Tower Automotive Inc., based in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a global designer and producer of vehicle structural components and assemblies used by every major automotive original equipment manufacturer, including Ford, DaimlerChrysler, GM, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Fiat, Hyundai/Kia, BMW and Volkswagen. Additional company information is available at www.towerautomotive.com.
Tower Automotive purchased A.O. Smith in Corydon in 1997, and a year later announced a $70 million expansion that later was increased to $100 million. A.O. Smith opened here in 1989.

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