A123 Lays Off 125 Staff at Michigan Plants

Waltham, MA-based A123 Systems (NASDAQ: AONE), the lithium-ion battery maker, has laid off about 125 employees at its manufacturing facilities in Livonia and Romulus, MI. The news originally broke the week of Thanksgiving and was reported by media outlets including the Observer & Eccentric and Crain’s Detroit Business.

The layoffs are apparently the result of lower demand from Fisker Automotive after its plug-in hybrid sports car ran into production delays. A123 invested in Irvine, CA-based Fisker early last year. Media reports quote Jason Forcier, the vice president and general manager of A123’s automotive group, and PR manager Dan Borgasano as saying the layoffs are temporary and the workers should be hired back within six months.

Forcier spoke with me last year around the opening of the Livonia plant. At the time, he noted that “the battery industry is really a rejuvenation for the whole area. This is extremely important for Michigan from an economic standpoint.”

A123 still employs about 600 people at its two Michigan plants and its research and development center in Ann Arbor, according to the Crain’s report.

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