Hitachi splitting off auto group, basing it in Kentucky

Tokyo-based Hitachi Ltd. plans to restructure by splitting off two of its business groups as separate companies, the largest of which would be based in Kentucky, to cut costs and attract more business.

Hitachi's Automotive Systems Group, including the Hitachi plant in Harrodsburg which employs several hundred, and its Consumer Business Group would separate from the parent company on July 1 and adopt new names.

The new Automotive Systems Group company will have about 7,600 employees, and two subsidiaries, Unisia of Georgia Corp. and Tokico (USA) Inc., would be brought under the new Kentucky-based automotive company.

Tokico has plants in Berea and Harrodsburg, plus California and Michigan.

To speed up the pace of cost-cutting and restructuring, Hitachi also said it would create five departments that will report directly to the president and executive vice presidents.