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The future of Neaton Auto Products Manufacturing in Eaton, OH

Real Estate Agent with Better Homes and Gardens Big Hill 2002018135

Hmmm...no one really knows at this point if there is a future left at this company. Lets start with a little history first:

Founded in 1984 as a subsidiary of Nihon-Plast Co, Ltd. (Japan), Neaton Auto,located in Eaton OH, has been a top supplier of products to the automobile industry.  Neaton supplies such products as:

Steering wheels

Air Bags

Instrument panels and related parts


Interior and exterior trim parts,

all for top producing Auto Manufacturers including Honda, Saturn and Nisson.

Back in the day, Neaton Auto was THE company of choice to work for in the Preble County area.  Well, at least one of them.  Neaton offered perks including an excellent retirement program, company-wide week long shut downs at Christmas and over July 4th week, yearly cost-of-living raises,excellent vacation plans, attendance bonus, shift premiums, state-of-the-art working enviornment, as well as unheard of extras like tickets to the Beach Waterpark, Kings Island tickets, a company Holiday party, company summer picnic, kids holiday party with Santa and gifts, and much more.

Of course, back in the day we all had opportunities that we took for granted.  Opportunities and perks that most of us would kill for now!  Neaton Auto employees included.  Because, just like GM, FORD, and many other auto manufacturers, Neaton is feeling the pinch.  And employees are getting scared.

Cut backs began in December of 2008.  All temporary associates were let go.  January hit, and raisies were taken back.  Attendence bonuses and the like were erased.  Then, third shift was deemed "non-essential", and all third shift employees had to make the switch to second or first shift.  And all of the sudden, you've got people tripping over each other and the musical chairs game begins.  The janitory dept. is scaled back, so now instead of making a part, some folks at Neaton are cleaning the restrooms.  But hey, a paycheck is a paycheck in this economy.

"Black Thursday" came up soon enough.  Approximatly 30 people were "let go".  Call it a lay-off, call it "firing", call it what you want.  Around 30 people lost jobs.  People with seniority.  People with good attendanace and good work history.  But, they were all deemed "non-essential".  That word seems to come up a lot.  Non-essential.  Sort-of an umbrella term for whatever or whomever needs to be taken care of.

Last week, word came around the plant that approx. 100 people still need to go.  Options are few:

A.  Quit now and take a severance.  At first sight, a lump sum looks pretty attractive.  But believe me, it runs out all too soon.  If you dont need or want another job, if you dont need the insurance coverage, if you haven't worked 20 years and racked up more vacation than you'll ever realize anyplace else, this might be the option for you.  If not..

B.  Take the "voluntary" lay-off.  Expect to see 80% of your take home pay in unemployment benefits.  80% ain't bad.  EXCEPT:  its based on your last 26 weeks of work.  And for the majority of Neaton workers, the last 26 weeks of employment has been 32 hours a week.  So, 80% of a 32 hour week.  Ouch.

C.  Ride it out.  If Neaton doesn't get enough volunteers for the first two options, the last option will be to fire what is needed to complete the "100 number".  Word has it, this will be based upon work performance, as well as overall attendance.  So those folks who are good workers and actually SHOW UP to work should have no worries.

My husband is an employee of Neaton Auto.  He has been since 1991.  So we have seen the heyday of Neaton, and we have seen the bad times now as well.  The belt tightening has had an affect on our family, and an affect on our wallet.  But he is resolved to ride it out.  Because like most things in the world, its all cyclical.  Real Estate.  Wal-Street.  Politics.  Gas prices.  Crop values.  Manufacturing.  Its the roller-coaster of life folks.

Neaton Auto has always made wise business decisions.  I think the company as a whole has a great head on its shoulders, and the dark time will pass.  Maybe that's my own little pipe-dream.  It seems like the hope and dream of many in this community though.  Time will tell.

Thanks for reading!


Kelley A. Weimer

A house "SOLD" name



Professional Real Estate Services for Preble County OH and beyond; including Eaton, Brookville, Lakengren, Germantown, West Alexandria, Camden and Lewisburg.

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Thanks for reading!

Kelley Weimerpink flower

 a house "SOLD" name!

Kelley Weimer is a full-time Real Estate professional serving the residential and light commercial needs of Southwest Ohio, including Preble County, Montgomery County, Butler and Darke Counties.  She serves the needs of today's home buyers and home sellers, working for one of the area's top real estate brokerages, Preble Plus Realty, LLC. Making real estate dreams come true since 2002, Kelley prides herself on honest, friendly service; staying on the edge of technology yet always keeping the focus on good ole' communication.  For your real estate dreams, please contact Kelley today!

Kay DeWitt

Just came across your information about Neaton --- so sorry to hear about the cut backs.  My husband and I live in Nevada and my husband retired from General Motors/Morain City, Ohio back in 1997.  It is just a shame that the middle class is disappearing.  Our life insurance costs and health insurance has gone up nearly 500% in the last six months.  And pension cuts. 

My son worked at Neaton for a few years and I told him when he quit it was a mistake --- but maybe I was wrong.  Of course never in my senior years did I expect to see General Motors and other major companies going bankrupt. 

Real estate here in the southwest is down 50% in value.  No joke ---- we purchased our ranch in 2005 and now the market value is halfl of what we paid for the property.  How will all of tese problems reverse without years of hard labor and major cut backs.  Arizona, Nevada and California real estate is hurting.

Will keep looking at your site ---- wish you the very best.  





May 29, 2009 05:29 PM
jon Barr

Not sure how old this is, I hope it is not new... last response was 2009. I was at Neaton from 1986 to 1995, I guess those were the good days. I started my Auto day at Neaton and stayed in Auto up until 2007. Glad to be out of Automotive. I just love my current job and hope all is going well with all my old Associates at Neaton. Eaton was my home town and was a great part of my young life. I hope if this is old that Neaton is doing better.

Jon Barr EHS 1979


Feb 06, 2012 06:54 AM
Kelley Weimer
Better Homes and Gardens Big Hill - Eaton, OH
Preble County Ohio Real Estate & beyond

Hi Jon!  Thanks for the reply.  My husban has been at Neaton for over 20 years now, so he started pretty much in the hayday of Neaton Auto.  I am happy to report that for now, things are good and work is steady.  In fact, work has been busy and lots of overtime available.

BUT, we take everything with a grain of salt, because we never can be sure how long it will last.  In 2011, due to the Tsunami and then an earthquake, my husband and many others were on part time work for months.  Many temps let go as well.  Everyone is back now.  How long it will last?  Who knows...

The outsourcing to Mexico, along with the continued lower demand makes it real hard to guess about the future of Neaton. 

Everyone is hanging in though, and enjoying the feast before the famine hits again.  Thank you and best wishes!

Feb 07, 2012 02:45 AM