Wintech layoffs to affect 167

Automotive supplier Niles America Wintech in Winchester has determined the number of layoffs that will result by moving most of its operations overseas.

The company, which makes switches for vehicles, told state officials on May 1 that it will lay off 167 of its 215 employees, leaving 48 at the facility to ship parts coming in from its operations in Thailand and Japan, where the company is based. The workers also will provide quality control and customer support.

General manager Bill Patterson said the layoffs will begin during the first two weeks of July and continue through the first two weeks of September. Employees are being given severance packages, he said.

The decision to consolidate operations overseas came because orders have fallen dramatically from its main customers — Nissan, General Motors and Honda — as all automakers struggle with a massive drop in vehicle sales. That's left the facility with too much capacity.