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American Axle Cuts Staff, Boosts India Business and CEO’s Bonus

The company wants 300 to 400 white-collar workers to take early retirement by August, people familiar with the plan say. If too few sign up, layoffs could follow.

September 16, 2011
American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings wants to trim as many as 400 white-collar jobs in addition to about 2,000 blue-collar cuts, even as it expands in India.

Separately, the Detroit driveline supplier’s board more than doubled CEO Richard E. Dauch’s cash bonus for 2007.

The company wants 300 to 400 white-collar workers to take early retirement by August, people familiar with the plan say. If too few sign up, layoffs could follow.

“We are exploring those options,” said spokeswoman Renee Rogers.

On June 27, American Axle’s board approved an $8.5 million cash bonus for Dauch, more than double the $3.9 million he received a year earlier. Dauch got $9.2 million in other compensation. The company said Dauch was rewarded for obtaining a concessionary contract from the United Autoworkers.

A three-month strike by 3,600 American Axle workers ended when the UAW agreed to halve wages and benefits. The company expects to cut 2,000 UAW workers through buyouts, buy-downs and early retirement packages.

American Axle also is accelerating in India. The company confirmed it is building a second axle plant in Pune. The plant is expected to supply Mahindra International Ltd., owned by Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and International Truck and Engine Corp., Rogers said.

In October, American Axle and India’s Sona Koyo Steering Systems Ltd. set up AAM Sona Axle Private Ltd. to make light-vehicle axles for Tata Motors Ltd.

Filed by Robert Sherefkin of Automotive News, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.