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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Automotive parts manufacturer Eaton Corp. will be laying off 600 workers, due in part to the slowdown in North American sales of heavy trucks.

“Activity in North American markets remains extraordinarily depressed, with heavy truck production currently at its lowest levels since 1992,” said Alexander M. Cutler, chairman and chief executive officer of Eaton.

“In that context, we are pleased that our business reached breakeven this quarter compared to a US$12 million loss in the fourth quarter of last year. NAFTA order activity shows no signs of improving in the near term, and the $55 million restructuring of this worldwide business we announced earlier this year is now well underway,” Cutler said.

“Our commitment is to emerge from this industry depression with a more flexible, less capital intensive, and more profitable organization that is less affected by the inevitable ups and downs of this market, and can better serve the needs of our customers, suppliers, employees and owners.”

Sales in the first quarter to the truck segment were $281 million, 37 per cent below one year ago, Eaton said.

The company also reported its results for the first quarter of 2001. It had sales of US$1.98 billion in the quarter, down 9 per cent over last year.

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