Moving to China? Motorola's Texas plant to shut down by the end of the year

Moving to China? Motorola's Texas plant to shut down by the end of the year
Motorola made a big deal last year about how the Moto X would be the first smartphone to ever be assembled in the US, specifically at a manufacturing site in Fort Worth, Texas, which was an old Nokia factory. The idea was to change the prevailing wisdom that manufacturing in the US was simply too expensive. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out and Motorola has announced plans to shut down the site by the end of the year.

Motorola President Rick Osterloh didn't specifically say that it was too expensive to keep the plant open, but did tell The Wall Street Journal that Motorola learned "that the North American market was exceptionally tough." This could refer to the cost of running the plant, or it could simply refer to the fact that the Moto X wasn't very successful with consumers, and Motorola has found much more success with its low-cost devices in international markets. Of course, the low Moto X sales would in turn mean that the plant couldn't achieve economies of scale, so the cost of production was higher than hoped. 

At its peak, the Fort Worth facility housed 3,800 employees, though most were under contract with manufacturer Flextronics International Ltd. As of today, the site has only 700 employees working to assemble the Moto X orders. The site will be closed down by the end of the year, but there has been no word yet as to if the employees will be given options to move, or what will happen to the assembly work. 

We had previously seen job listings for Moto Maker progam managers in Illinois, the UK, and Brazil, and while we wouldn't expect new plants to pop up in Illinois or the UK, Brazil might be an option, if Motorola doesn't want to move assembly to be closer to its new owner Lenovo in China. 

source: WSJ

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47 Comments

1. cornerofthemoon

Posts: 620; Member since: Apr 20, 2010

Sad news, but not unexpected.

4. sgodsell

Posts: 7519; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

They should have added more customization from the beginning. Like the 64gb option for storage, and a different CPU. Also making the battery slightly larger in capacity, even if its not needed. Its still better to have too much, then too little.

16. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

The Moto X was all about Google's new platform for "always on/always listening". A surprisingly high number of suckers got on board the "specs don't matter" train, but in reality, specs do matter. And no one who wants to have their own life and not be Google's property wants a Moto X.

26. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Specs only matter to the idiotic masses who buy Samsung phones. Or are you going to argue that a quad core moto g is faster than the dual core moto x? Because it isn't by a long shot.

28. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

6 months after I got a Moto X (and 8 months after I got a Droid Mini, which has the same internals) and I'm still a firm believer that beyond a certain point, specs don't matter.

39. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Specs do matter to some degree. I'm pretty sure if the Moto X was an actual flagship with better specs you'd be singing a different tune.

42. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Not necessarily. For the first time in my smartphone owning life I have no envy versus any other smartphone currently available.

46. troutsy

Posts: 383; Member since: Feb 17, 2012

iPhone fanboy dropping into a motorola article to troll the specs argument..... OH THE SWEET, SWEET IRONY!!!!!!!!

36. miggymini

Posts: 15; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

I'm not sure what you where trying to convey in your last sentence but the specs of the Moto X was perfect for the device and the OS. This phone is a phone that just worked. On the contrary, the amount of the "suckers" as you put them wasn't high enough otherwise Motorola wouldn't be in the financial mess its in now. As for you claim about what the Moto X was all about the “always on/always listening” came after Moto X's touch-less control feature. Those where innovations Google adopted from Motorola not the other way around.

7. DEATHSTROKE9

Posts: 399; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

.................

18. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Lol I called it. I said the same exact thing months ago but sniggly didn't believe me.

23. My1cent

Posts: 370; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Sad but TRUE!! Their devices ain't bad BUT Sale Dept. svck! Canceled my order cuz billing address & shipping addr. aren't the same?! I ordered a tablet from MSstore.com at noon & got it afternoon the next day! Even I chose FREE delivery (3-7 days) option!! What did Google say, Moto?

2. hellonerds

Posts: 334; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

That sucks.... hard to find jobs now days... im sure the moto will be even cheaper. .

15. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1461; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Wake up...when have you EVER seen a manufacturer get cost savings and passed them on to the consumer. This is because the stock is not performing well because of busted sales. This means they must relocate to make more to satisfy the stock holder. Look at Dell they made a hell of a machine and when they went public on the stock market started sellin g junk. Now they are going private meaning they don't have to make junk to pass money to stock holders. This may cause them to go back to the roots of making good high standard products.....or not! The era of passing good products to the consumer has gone the way of selling mediocre products, and passing the fat from the high cost to CEO's, bonuses, and preferred stock holders. The consumer rarely gets cost passed along. Look at the iPhone and the profit, and all the other phones, and products. Profit is passed to the stock holder, and for big bonus the more they ream a customer the more bonus and stock they receive until the company dies.

3. brar.arsh

Posts: 202; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

** which was an old Nokia factory** There is something wrong with this factory. I wish Apple takes over this plant and soon it's name would be history.. :P

5. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

it doesn't matter how much US gov subsidizes manufacturing sector with tax breaks and incentives, the Chinese would beat them with cheaper labor even at a loss. they've got billion people sitting around wait for shiit to do. Americans need to stop subsidizing manufacturing sectors.

29. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Chinese people need to stop multiplying...

6. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Been there, done that, it sucks having your job relocated to China while you hit the unemployment line instead. It's ironic, a few years ago Moto only sold well in the US but now they are selling more overseas so their manufacturing goes there instead.

8. IliyaBeshkov

Posts: 261; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

Logical.. Assembling in Asia is cheaper and will down the price of the phone..

9. bestmvno

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

Or it could simply be because Motorola is now owned by the Chinese company Lenovo, so it would make sense for them to bring manufacturing "home". I would imagine if Google held onto the business the phone would still be produced in Texas.

10. IliyaBeshkov

Posts: 261; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

Apple is also an American company and the only product that is assembled in USA is the new Mac Pro..

11. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Well, that sucks. I wonder if it'll affect the lead time on custom orders, since part of the reason for having the phone built in the US was the 2-3 day wait for custom phones.

19. Mxyzptlk unregistered

It's business. This was a dumb and risky move. They shouldn't have moved production to the united States.

22. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Risky? Yes. Dumb? No. The United States needs jobs and it needs jobs badly. I will never fault a company for trying to fill that need.

30. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Well said.

34. Mxyzptlk unregistered

It needs jobs but there needs to be real change for that to happen. It was a dumb decision simply because the of the costs. That in addition to the X having lukewarm sales didn't help much.

35. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

The initial estimate was that the costs weren't that much extra over what it would cost to manufacture and import the phones from China, but you're right. The lukewarm sales doomed the experiment. I also agree that real change needs to happen in the US for jobs to come back here.

43. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

At least Moto tried it. Apple seems to have no problems with lukewarm sales, what's their excuse? Look up what Jobs said to Obama when he asked what it would take to get Apple building in the US. As far as Jobs was concerned the only thing American he cared about was our money and what we could do for him. At least Cook has changed that perception a bit, offering funds matching for charities and such. But if any company could afford to do so, it'd be Apple. And until either they decide to do so, or the cost of Chinese labor approaches ours, those jobs will continue to stay abroad. Apple has reaped a lot of benefits from the US, maybe it's time they gave something back.

12. blackberry_Boy

Posts: 213; Member since: May 27, 2014

Once again jobs going overseas

24. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

The problem is that Americans do not seem to care. They keep buying iphones, which are made in China, and ignored the Moto X. What should Moto do? They opened a factory in US because they hoped it would push sales, but it didn't happen, so it would be a suicide to continue.

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