Local industries vary in reaction to virus-plagued world

Friday, March 20, 2020

Responding to the needs — or lack of them at present — of the Subaru Lafayette Auto Plant, Heartland Automotive in Greencastle is going on hiatus.

Starting Saturday (today), Heartland will shutter both its Greencastle and Lafayette operations, Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Director Kristin Clary told the Banner Graphic.

Clary had spoken earlier with Heartland Manager of Administration Ritsuko Abrams, who told her the hiatus is essentially “because of all the craziness” in the world related to the COVID-19 virus.

“They are shuttering their plant for a week and hope to reopen on March 30,” Clary clarified. “It’s just in response to all this craziness as well as Subaru’s needs. They are closing both their Greencastle and their Lafayette plant. It’s standard across the board.”

Heartland is a Tier 1 supplier to Subaru of Indiana Inc., which has halted production because an employee there had contact with someone with coronavirus.

The plant’s production lines, making a series of Subaru models, will be closed March 23-29.

“To ensure the health and safety of our associates and to adjust volume for market demand as a result of COVID-19, Subaru of Indiana Automotive is suspending production,” SIA spokesman Craig Koven said in a statement.

Now in its 33rd year of operations in Putnam County, Heartland Automotive employs approximately 425 people and serves as the American headquarters for Shigeru Industries of Ota City, Japan,

Meanwhile, the opposite situation can be found at Crown Industries, with two plants on Greencastle’s East Side.

Clary said she spoke to Cary Thompson, the human resources officer at Crown, about their current operations.

“They are fully operational,” Clary said. “Things have not changed.”

Meanwhile, things at other local industries aren’t as clear.

“IAC — we’ve heard they have plans of closing,” Clary said of another possible shutdown. However, no verification of any closing could be made.

Attempts to contact someone to clarify the IAC and Chiyoda situations were unsuccessful.

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