Motorola to Close Fort Worth Smartphone Factory

Google's Motorola Mobility smartphone unit will shutter its Fort Worth factory by the end of the year.

Motorola Mobility spokesman Will Moss says sales of its flagship handset the Moto X were too weak and the costs of running the plant too high to keep operations going.

The announcement comes one year after the plant opened with much fanfare as the first smartphone factory in the U.S.

Gov. Rick Perry and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt were in attendance opening day. Also there was Mike McNamara, CEO of Flextronics Ltd., the Singapore-based international contract electronics manufacturer that runs the plant.

Moss says the factory employs about 700 workers who assemble the Moto X smartphones for the U.S. market. He declined to comment on whether Motorola would retain the workers.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price released the following statement:

"We are obviously disappointed in the announcement that Flextronics will close its Fort Worth facility as part of a company strategy to consolidate its manufacturing globally. This is a tough business decision, but one this company believed it had to make in order to ensure the future health of the company. It’s just part of the economic cycle that businesses will rise and fall. However, on the whole, all economic indicators in Fort Worth continue to rise. We have a lot of momentum and I remain confident that business and job growth will remain strong for the foreseeable future.”

Roanoke Mayor Carl "Scooter" Giersch told NBC 5 his city will feel the effects of the plant closing.

"We’re the closest city to them as far as restaurants and shopping and so forth goes and a lot of those folks come to Roanoke to eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores and so forth, so there will make an impact, ” said Giersch. 

"I mean this is a large facility and I remember when Nokia was there and all the employees that left there back several years ago, and it is, it’s a big shock to open and not even be there a full year and this announcement happens and wow, ” Giersch said.

NBC 5's Kevin Cokely and Holley Ford contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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