A123 is touted as one of the largest battery plants of its kind anywhere. The company now says 125 employees are being let go, albeit it temporarily.
The layoffs stem from a lack of demand from one of its biggest customers in California.
Livonia's mayor says A123's move is as simple as Economics 101.
"They've got this pile of batteries sitting there waiting to be put in cars when they manufacture them, and they think it will catch up and that they'll have the opportunity to use them," said Jack Kirksey. "It's an isolated situation."
Isolated because it stems from one contractor that doesn't need what they're making, at least for now. Still, a pile of batteries on the West Coast will mean layoffs for employees in Romulus and Livonia.
A123 got a $249-million grant from the feds to start the company in Michigan. Former Governor Jennifer Granholm spoke about it in her book boasting about luring the company with $125-million in state incentives.
Out of the 125 workers being laid off, 80 of them will be from their Livonia facility and the other 45 from Romulus. However, even with this bad news, the mayor of Livonia says there is some good news. A123 is hiring, too.
"They're hiring engineers currently at the Livonia plant, so it's a very viable corporate citizen," Kirksey explained. "They participate in a number of civic activities, and so we are delighted to have them."
A123 had promised the state that within three years they would try to hire 500 people. Even with these temporary layoffs, they are boasting that they have hired close to 800 people in just a year and a half.