WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) — The 80 remaining workers at Navistar’s military vehicle assembly plant in West Point will be out of work as of July 5. The company announced today that it is idling the plant because of a lack of work.
“Navistar Defense informed workers this morning that the company has made the difficult decision to idle its West Point, Mississippi, manufacturing facility,” said Navistar corporate communications director Lauren McFarland. “The sequester, along with the pending drawdown of operations in Afghanistan, have led to a depleted order board, which requires us to make the difficult decision to suspend production at the West Point facility. The last day for production and for most workers at the facility is Friday, July 5.
“We are navigating through a challenging environment in the defense industry, and this was a very difficult decision because Navistar values the Griffin workers. These are truly great people who have produced vehicles that make a difference, but the reality is the defense environment has changed significantly and as a business, Navistar has to change and adapt with i,” McFarland added.
The West Point plant opened five years ago. It initially assembled the company’s MRAP — mine resistant — vehicles that helped better protect soldiers against roadside bombs and other explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan. The company has gone on to produce a variety of related vehicles such as armored tow trucks and ambulances to better meet the military’s needs.
But after hitting peak production three years ago, orders have steadily slipped.