Michigan-based Lear Corp. (NYSE: LEA) has broken ground on a $30 million manufacturing facility in Hammond. The company says the plant will eventually employ 875 workers transferred from current operations in Hammond and Portage. The new 240,000 square foot facility will produce seats for the Ford Motor Co., which will be used in sport-utility vehicles beginning in the 2020 model year.
Lear employs around 575 currently in Hammond and some 300 in Portage. It launched in Lake County in 1994 and the Porter County operation opened in 2015.
Lear Seating Business President Ray Scott says "we’re pleased to be able to combine our operations into a single modern facility, which will optimize our ability to deliver the highest-quality Lear seats to Ford Motor Company. The new site keeps our operations close to Ford, which is essential. Lear’s ongoing relationship with Ford and the UAW in Hammond is deeply appreciated, and we are grateful for future opportunities. Crown Enterprises has also been a good partner in this process and has helped make this possible."
Hammond Plant Manager Michael Segvich says "the current plant in Hammond is landlocked, so expanding that facility is physically impossible. We also don’t want to interfere with current production, so constructing a new building is our best option."
The city has approved $4 million in incentives for the project, which officials say is the first major new plant construction in Hammond since 2013. The company first made plans public in July.